09, Oct 2021 | CJP Team
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has written to the Director General of Police (DGP) of Chhattisgarh in connection with the October 5 incident of communal violence in Kawardha town in Kabirdham district. A mob of nearly 3,000 miscreants, carrying saffron flags, allegedly attacked houses and vehicles of people, and also pelted stones. A copy of the complaint has also been sent to the honourable Chief Minister of the state, Bhupesh Baghel.
The complaint has referred to two videos that were circulated on social media, showing unknown groups of men, chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (long live Lord Ram), and pelting stones at shops, houses and police personnel. In one video, annexed along with our complaint, an individual says, “Hindu ab jaag utha hai, usko koi jhuka nahi sakta hai” (The Hindus have woken up, nobody can look down upon them). In another video, one of the miscreants had climbed onto the terrace of a building and thrown down a green flag that had been hoisted there. A group of men, holding saffron flags cheered him on.
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The complaint has mentioned such instances and urged the authorities to take immediate action against this violence and nip it in the bud. CJP’s complaint mentions some media reports to highlight that some policemen have sustained minor injuries while dispersing the mob.
The complaint further reads, “Officials have also been reported to have said that no permission was given by the administration for the rally which was taken out two days after a clash broke out between the Hindu and Muslim communities over the removal of religious flags from a thoroughfare in the town, the headquarters of Kabirdham district located around 126 km from Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur. After this clash over the removal of flags, a peace committee meeting was called which unfortunately bore no results.”
Our complaint refers to an Indian Express report which stated that a former BJP MLA Abhishek Singh, who is the son of former chief minister Raman Singh, flagged off the protest by right-wing groups, after which a mob of mostly young men entered Muslim neighborhoods and began attacking vehicles, handcarts, and doors and windows of houses.
One Shoaib Akhtar, a 54-year-old hafiz or caretaker of a nearby mosque, said, “I was pulled off my vehicle and beaten. Only when I started to bleed profusely did they leave me. The police were present but were unable to do much. They were just waving their batons and trying to shoo away the armed men.”
Besides listing down the various violations of the law, CJP has submitted that anticipating trouble a day before, the District Collector imposed a curfew in the town but the mob disregarded such orders and roamed the streets of Kawardha with sticks and flags to cause damage. “It is clear that the common objective of these people was to brazenly attack and threaten the minorities and the videos annexed show a chilling impact of such an overwhelming crowd, with closed doors of houses and shops (as precaution),” reads the complaint.
The incident attracts several provisions like assault, rioting, unlawful assembly, giving provocation with intent to cause riot, attempt to murder, voluntarily causing hurt, mischief, damage to property, hate speech under the Indian criminal laws, and has been enumerated by CJP.
We have urged Shri DM Awasthi, DGP, Chhattisgarh to take cognisance of our complaint and carry out a time-bound investigation in order to maintain peace and also secure the confidence of the public. The complaint also requests for speedy FIR registration against the accused persons and to constitute mohalla committees (peace committee) to “work towards preventing pre-planned attacks and or outbursts that may take place.”
The complaint may be read here:
*Feature Image by Amili Setalvad