Bhopal: The fundraising drive for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya has emerged as a new trigger for communal tensions in the state. Three cases of communal tension and violence during fund-raising processions have been reported over the past one week from three districts. All the three incidents have been reported from the Malwa-Nimar region, which is a stronghold of the BJP’s parent organisation, the RSS.
The first incident happened in Ujjain on December 26, when a bike rally being taken out by saffron outfits to raise funds for the Ram Temple was pelted with stones in the Begum Bagh area of Ujjain. Around 15 persons have, so far, been arrested, out of whom five have been charged under the National Security Act (NSA), Ujjain police sources said. A house from which stones were pelted at the procession was demolished by the local administration under the ongoing anti-mafia drive in the state.
The second incident happened three days later, on Tuesday, in Chandana Khedi village of Indore district, where communal clashes broke out after a Ram Temple fund-raiser rally was allegedly attacked in the village dominated by a particular community. A police probe, so far, has revealed that chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and other slogans were raised by the processionists, which the villagers objected to. A war of words followed and that triggered stone-pelting at the procession, which ultimately sparked clashes between the two sides. Around five persons were hurt in the clashes, during which bullets were also fired.
The Indore police have registered four cases of rioting and attempt to murder on complaints from both sides and 25 people have, so far, been arrested. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed in the village concerned and adjoining villages under the Gautampura police station. The Gautampura police station-in-charge, RC Bhaskare, has also been suspended, while SDOP Pankaj Dixit has been shunted out.
The third incident happened in Dorana village of Mandsaur district, while a Ram Temple fund-raiser procession was passing through it. According to reports, some men from the procession played some mischief, which brought both sides on the brink of a face-to-face conflict. The cops, however, reached the spot in large numbers and prevented the situation from worsening further.
“The situation is under control and six cases have been registered in the matter against 58 people, out of whom five have been arrested. Prohibitory orders have imposed in the area and no one will be allowed to take out any procession without permission,” Mandsaur SP Siddharth Chaudhary told the media.