Bhopal: Over 230 people were booked, and two dozen people were arrested in five incidents of violence that broke out during the Eid Milad-Un-Nabi processions in five cities of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday.
Police fired tear gas shells in Jabalpur and retorted to lathi charge in all the incidents to disperse the mob, which left dozens of people injured, including nine cops. The clashes broke out in five cities of the state-- Jabalpur, Khargone, Dhar and two cities of the Barwani district, Rajpur and Sendhwa.
Speaking to the media in Bhopal, State Home Minister Narottam Mishra said, "85 people were booked in Dhar, 24 in Jabalpur, and nine people have been arrested so far after police filed various FIRs in connection with the incidents."
"The situation is under control in all the cities. But I want to warn all those who are trying to disrupt the peace of the state that the police is ready to handle the situation with an iron hand," he added.
However, the minister did not comment on the Barwani incident where the members of the majority community allegedly pelted stones at the procession for playing "objectionable" songs in the procession.
The chaos prevailed in the Rajpur locality of Barwani district after stones were pelted at an Eid Milad-Un-Nabi procession for allegedly playing "objectionable" songs. In retaliation, the mob pelted the stones, forcing the police to cane-charge to disperse the crowd, the Barwani police said. "The objectionable songs were played in the procession which was carried out without permission, and it was opposed by the members of the majority community, leading to the incidents of stone-pelting," said Barwani Additional SP RD Prajapati to reporters.
Several videos of the incident are doing rounds on social media in which some youths are seen pelting stones at the procession from the roof. In a separate video, some men in plain clothes are holding red flags and seen attacking the locals with police in a bid to disperse the mob. The incident left ten people, including a police station incharge and a girl, injured.
Cross FIRs have been lodged, and cases have been registered against over 50 people, 12 of whom were named, for rioting, damaging government property and violating COVID-19 guidelines, the ASP said.
Barwani Collector Shivraj Singh Verma and SP Deepak Kumar Shukla have visited Rajpur, and security has been beefed up.
Barely 35-km away from Rajpur, in Sendhwa city, which was already on the boil over an incident of a 10-year-old boy's presence at a Garbha venue on October 13, violence broke out on Tuesday when police tried to stop an Eid procession which wasn't permitted amid the ongoing tensions.
According to the Sendhwa police station incharge, Baldev Mujalda, processions were taken out at Jogwara Road and Motibagh area despite the ban. In a bid to stop it, the police used mild force to deescalate the situation. A police inspector was injured in the brick-batting.
"Over 100 people have been booked, 20 of whom have been identified and named," he said.
Close to 70-km from Sendhwa, violence also broke out in the Bediya town of Khargone district over the removal of flags erected for an Eid Milad-un-Nabi procession.
Bediya DSP Varsha Solanki said that some of the participants barged into a house and beat up the occupants after the procession, accusing them of removing the flags. Five people were injured in the clash, she said, adding that 36 people from both groups have been booked for violence on separate complaints.
In Jabalpur, the locals and the police came face to face after some miscreants allegedly pelted stones and threw firecrackers at cops in the Gohalpur area of the city during an Eid procession.
According to the police, the permission was only granted for the Jalsa in which clerics were supposed to preach at a particular place, but, instead, the processions were carried out. When police objected, some miscreants threw crackers and pelted stones at police near Macchli market.
Police fired at least 30 teargas shells and retorted to cane-charge to deescalate the situation, SP Siddharth Bahuguna said, adding that half a dozen police personnel have also sustained minor injuries. "Around a dozen accused have been rounded up in connection with the incident," the SP said.
Religious leaders stepped up to calm emotions, with police also showing restraint to ease tension.
In Dhar, the police retorted to lathi-charge after several men tried to enter a restricted area that didn't fall in the permitted route for their procession.
Police used mild force to stop them, which led to stone-pelting.
In the viral video of the incident, cops can be seen lathi-charging to disperse the mob. In another video, a cop can be seen holding the long beard of a man.
"Police had handed the route of the procession to organisers, and most of the people agreed. But some people insisted on following the old route and barged into the restricted area which the cops had barricaded," said SP Aditya Pratap Singh.
When NewsClick reached out to Dheeraj Gupta, ADG, Law and Order of Madhya Pradesh Police, no response was received.