Bhopal: Unrest prevailed in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district on Friday evening after a bike rally by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) – BJP’s youth wing – went through Begum Bagh, a Muslim-dominated colony. BJYM members allegedly raised provocative slogans following which locals hurled stones at the rally, the police said.
The stone-pelting on the bike rally, which had nearly 300 BJYM workers, led to a stampede-like situation in the locality. Nearly 11 people sustained injuries following the incident, with one person seriously injured said Arvind Singh Tomar, Town Inspector of Mahakal police station. He added that multiple vehicles were damaged.
“Three cross-FIRs related to the incident have been registered in Mahakal police station against a total of eight people, including a woman, on charges of rioting and attempt to murder. They were filed on the basis of recorded videos of the incident collected from various sources,” said Tomar.
The following day (December 26) Ujjain collector invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against four Begum Bagh residents – Ayaz Mohammad, Wasim Aslam, Shadab Akram, Altu Aslam. Three others were booked under Section 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting) 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 423 (giving false statement) of the Indian Penal Code. The police have arrested six people while one among them is absconding.
The residents of Begum Bagh alleged that the BJYM workers were abusing the locals rather than sloganeering and had gone past the neighbourhood on multiple occasions during the course of the day.
“They were provoking the locals by abusing them. Dozens of bikers crossed the neighbourhood multiple times a day and each time they hurled abuses at the locals and commuters,” said Ujjain Saher-e-Kazi, Khaliqur Rehman.
“The constant provocation led to the agitation and stones were pelted from both sides; it resulted in damage to vehicles of many residents, their houses, as well as a clinic.”
In videos of the incident which have gone viral, a woman and children were seen pelting stones at the rally from a rooftop while a few BJYM workers were also seen hurling stones.
Apparently, with the aim to teach a lesson to the stone-pelters a day after the rally, the district administration conducted a demolition drive at Begum Bagh to clear illegal encroachments.
They began demolishing the two-storey building from where the woman and children were seen pelting stones. But when the district admin come to know that the house belong to a Hindu man and the woman was a merely a tenant, they stopped. However, it allegedly demolished an adjacent building which belonged to a Muslim family, claimed Mohammad Ayub, a resident and social activist.
When contacted, Satyendra Kumar Shukla. Superintendent of Police, Ujjain said: “FIRs have been registered from both sides and people are being identified based on video evidence. Seven people have been booked in the first FIR; the second FIR is against unidentified persons while in the third FIR, a person from the rally has been identified and further investigation is on.”
“The situation is under control now and heavy police force has been deployed in the city to prevent any further escalation,” SP Shukla added.
Rehman alleged that the demolition drive was an attempt to harass the locals. “When the district administration illegally demolished a home of a Muslim family, which had nothing to with the incident, locals sat on a dharna in protest. Later, we urged the administration to stop the drive, else the situation would turn ugly and even we would not be able to contain it,” said Rehman.
He further alleged that both, the collector and the police, only targeted residents of Begum Bagh while turning a blind eye to the evidence which showed men hurling stones and damaging vehicles. “We have submitted several video evidences highlighting the fact that BJYM workers were pelting stones and damaging vehicles, but not a single person who was part of the rally has been arrested,” he alleged.