Aftermath of Khargone violence: Muslims bear brunt of anti-Muslim riot


Akansha Deshmukh

Muslim community in Khargone after the communal violence is subjected to forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and torture in the hands of the administration and the local police.

‘Chutad par maaro, isko chutad par maaro’ which roughly translates to ‘hit on body part below the waist and above the thighs’ can be heard in violent videos of Madhya Pradesh police in Khargone physically assaulting members of the Muslim community on the destructed and deserted narrow lanes of the city.

While the Muslim man wails in pain the policeman can be heard saying to his colleague ‘Kanhaiya’ to hit another Muslim youth. Kanhaiya goes up to the person donning a muslim cap, kurta & paijama and lands a tight slap on his face which makes him shiver unbalancing him.

Two such videos have surfaced on social media which describe the harmful and concerning action of the police specially on a specific community. Such videos of police brutality raises major concerns to the development of state sponsored violence in the city of Khargone.

Muslim community in Khargone after the communal violence is subjected to forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and torture in the hands of the administration and the local police.

Gasping for air while crying Shabana Banu narrates her ordeal that it was at the time of evening when suddenly 2-3 police vans came to their home, she along with seven other women was asked to go upstairs by the local police. The police brutally beating her brothers and sons dragged them out of the house.

She along with other women came dashing down in order to defend the arrest when she was mercilessly beaten by female police.

Her neighbour whose husband was also arrested tells that her husband whatsoever has no such involvement in the violence and he even suffers from severe back pain. He was arrested without any explanation given to the family members. She was too brutally beaten by sticks while she was on her fast- Roza (fast of 30 days kept before Eid during Ramadan). She alleges that police abused her and said that they have orders from above to kill each and everyone from your community.

Her neighbour Shabana too was told the same words by the local police when she was defending her family member’s arrest.

Moreover the violence has become a direct way to attack the minority community in Khargone through vandalising their houses, physically harassing them without any prior evidence of their involvement in the Ram Navmi violence.

Widowed Hasina Fakru (65) of Khaskhasvadi shares the same ordeal. No one from her family has been named in the violence and no FIR as such has been registered yet against her or any member of her family, but still the district administration was adamant on vandalising her house.

She says her house comes under ‘Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna’ scheme and she paid 2.5 lakhs under the scheme but now is homeless and have nowhere to go.

A total number of 12 houses have been demolished by the district Administration which fall under the scheme.

Similarly, three men namely Shabaz, Fakru and Rauf who are already serving a jail term since March face FIR registered against them on the allegation of inciting violence on 10th April. While they were in jail, Khargone police was busy booking them into another sections at the same police station where they were previously booked.

Shahbaz’s mother Sakina alleges that her house was vandalized after the violence without any involvement in the violence. No prior notice was served to her before vandalising her house. Now, after the anti-Muslim violence, her younger son has also been arrested by the police.

Mohammad Nafeez who lives in Mohan Talkies area tells that he was served no notice prior to demolishing his house and came to know when the administration was vandalising his property. Hearing loud noises through the shed he came out of his house when he discovered government officials vandalising his entire house.

Blind old gray-bearded Abdul Hamid who lives in Kukdol, 8 km away from Khargone in Madhya Pradesh was thrashed by rioters following ransacking his house. FIR filed by the family of Abdul Hamid names Balram Rajput along with 15 others who introduces himself as MP representative of Khargone.

Abdul, his son, and his brother-in-law received serious injuries. Balwant Rajput whose name is also mentioned in the FIR says that “If any Muslim comes into our village to do business, or if they have anything to do and come to our village, it’s a Hindu Rashtra, we will beat them up.” Police is yet to arrest Balram and Balwant while they roam free.

Similarly, venom is vomited out against the muslim Community in all forms by the rioters.

Shubham Raghuwanshi- a Bhajan singer of Khargone is heard in the viral audio heckling the owner of Baby Oil Mill for selling Muslim women oil. In his threatening audio he claims that he is calling each and everyone to stop them from selling products to the members of the Muslim community. No FIR has been lodged against the threatening caller yet by the Khargone police.

A female journalist Ghazala Ahmed working for ‘The Cognate’ who travelled from Delhi to Khargone to ground report on the violence was harassed for the entire day by the district officials. She expresses her disappointment on twitter, while other journalists were allowed she was singled out and restricted. She doubts that this behaviour of the district Administration was due to her Muslim identity/hijab and her organisation she works for.

Similarly social activist Medha Patkar and Supreme Court lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi were stopped on Saturday from entering Khargone and Barwani when they were on their way to meet the victims of the violence.

Citizens who are coming out to help the victims of the riot are being held hostage by the police. 4 men from Gujarat who came to help the riot-affected people as volunteers were illegally detained by the police. While no objectionable material or evidence to link them to any banned organization has been found in their possession they still serve as detainees of Khargone police.

Several CCTV footage released after the violence took place shows police giving a free hand to the miscreants who turned a religious procession to anti-Muslim riots and violence. One such CCTV footage of 10 April on the occasion of Ram Navami captured the Khargone police parting their ways and standing quietly on the other side of the mosque while the miscreants continued pelting stones and damaging the mosque.

After the violence unfolded through the shadows of hatred filled slogans and stone pelting the Khargone police’s action doesn’t seems fair and is a combine attack on Muslim community.

Muslim community members have now decided to approach the High Court against the “selective illegal demolition” by the BJP led government in the State.

After the violence, Bhopal Shahar Qazi Syed Mushtaque Ali Nadwi raised his serious concerns to State Home Minister Dr Narottam Mishra alleging that the demolition of the houses in Khargone are particularly aimed at the Muslim community. Earlier, Qazi Mushtaque met the state DGP Sudhir Saxena and submitted a memorandum to him.

Qazi Mushtaque emphasises on installing CCTV cameras over all mosques for future evidence and safety.

At the time of writing the story the government data claims that about 122 shops, houses, vehicles and hand carts have been damaged and burned during the onset of the communal violence.

Administration says the amount tally could be much higher as the survey is in continuation around the district.

More than hundred Muslim households have been displaced and left the town to avoid further harassment in the hands of the State. The migration is not only limited to the residents living in riot hit areas but also together members of the Muslim community have migrated in large numbers from the city.

Qazi Mushtaque have also raised concerns over migration in large amount of the minority community in the district. What left is justice to the people who are victims of the Hindutva violence and an independent inquiry committee to probe into the matter preventing further harassment of the minority community.

(Courtesy Maktoob Media)