Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh on Friday said that Muslim localities in Madhya Pradesh were being targeted during fund-raising rallies for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and demanded an impartial probe into the recent clashes even as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan assured people from all communities that they were safe.
With guns, lathis, swords and provocative speeches, those who have set out to collect donations for the construction of temple are targeting Muslim localities, Singh told reporters after meeting Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains and DGP Vivek Johri along with MLA Arif Masood and a delegation from the three districts that witnessed clashes last month.
The former chief minister demanded an impartial probe into the clashes that broke out in Ujjain, Mandsaur and Indore during the rallies.
“I will oppose these Hindus who are trying to break communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims. Hindu-Muslim unity is the basis of India. They fought together for the freedom struggle and those who did nothing during the freedom struggle are trying to vitiate the atmosphere,” Singh said.
He said he a better Hindu than all BJP leaders, as he practises Sanatam Dharma which calls for respect for all.
Holding the district administrators responsible, Singh said, “Ministers, IAS and IPS officers are bound by the Constitution and are not slaves of any political party, be it the Congress or BJP. How were the rallies allowed to be taken out? The district collectors and SPs of the affected districts should be removed,” he said. “It is strange that police cases are being registered against people whose houses were torched, vehicles damaged, and who sustained bullet wounds. What sort of justice is this.”
Reacting to Singh’s charges, Chief Minister Chouhan said in a video clip to media outlets: “Every society, community and sect is safe and secure in Madhya Pradesh.”
“If action has to be taken against anyone, it is going to be against goons and mafia. And it will take place for sure. No power can stop it… A wrongdoer will face the consequences… All are equal in the eye of the law,” he said. “MP government is against goons, drug peddlers and all types of mafia. Whoever the stone-pelters may be… nobody, not even Digvijaya, can save them.”
This came two days after a delegation headed by social activist Medha Patkar visited Indore’s Chandan Khedi village, where clashes took place on December 29. The six-member delegation submitted a report to Indore Commissioner Pawan Kumar on Thursday, saying that members of the rally that was passing through the village on the day of the clash were armed with iron rods, kerosene and diesel. They attacked the minaret of a mosque – near which an altercation broke out – with swords to incite communal violence. In the report, they accused the police of inaction.
After the clashes, the police booked around 23 villagers, but only two out of the three people who climbed the minaret were arrested – and both secured bail within two days, it said.
“It is shocking that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was in Indore immediately after the clashes, did not feel the need to appeal for peace and instead spoke about creating a law against stone-pelters,” said Patkar.