MP: Ram Navami violence accused already in jail since March
In a bizarre development, police in Madhya Pradesh have booked three men—lodged in jail since March—in connection to last week's communal violence in Barwani district, NDTV reported. This raised serious questions about the police's investigations into the Ram Navami communal clashes in the state. The report even said the house of one of the accused was allegedly demolished by district authorities, citing "illegal construction."
- Madhya Pradesh has been on the edge since communal violence erupted on Ram Navami (April 10).
- The state saw a number of clashes between two communities—especially in Khargone and Barwani regions—as processions were taken out to celebrate the festival.
- Stones were pelted at the rallies passing through certain areas, triggering violence.
- PTI reported several houses were also destroyed and vehicles torched in Barwani.
The three men booked in the case are accused of torching a motorcycle during the Ram Navami riots in Barwani, NDTV reported. However, they have been imprisoned since their arrest last month in a separate, attempt to murder case. Surprisingly, the latest case against the trio was also filed at the same police station where the previous attempted murder case had been registered.
Questioned about the lapse, senior police officer Manohar Singh told NDTV: "We will investigate the matter and take...information from the jail superintendent, the case has been registered on the basis of the allegations of the complainant." Reportedly, the accused have been identified as Shahbaz, Fakru, and Rauf, who are currently in jail in connection with the aforementioned attempted murder case filed on March 5.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz's mother has claimed their house was destroyed following the communal violence and the authorities served her no notice regarding it. Speaking to NDTV, she asked how an FIR was registered against her son when he was already in jail. When she tried to explain the same to the police, they didn't listen to her and even took away her younger son.
Reportedly, following CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's directives, the Barwani district administration and police recently demolished several "illegally" constructed buildings. Notably, these properties belonged to individuals who were allegedly involved in the Ram Navami procession attacks. The government has used bulldozers to raze down as many as 45 houses and shops in the district so far, reported NDTV.
Meanwhile, Chouhan on Friday defended his government's move to use bulldozers to demolish illegal properties of those allegedly involved in riots, despite facing sharp criticism from the opposition parties. "Shouldn't bulldozers be used against those who trouble the poor?" he asked at a rally in Bhopal. "Some people are conspiring to destroy peace...we will not let criminals survive in the state," he added.