Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Violent communal clashes in Raisen town of MP, Bajrang Dal go on rampage over trivial issue // Another village bans non-Hindu religious activities, govt sits idle

Bhopal: Communal clashes erupted Friday evening in the Raisen town of Madhya Pradesh located 45 km from capital Bhopal over small dispute of seat sharing in public transport. Bajrang Dal run riot left several properties damaged with three Muslims receiving bullet injuries in the police control firing. According to local sources a skirmish between Babu Chautaiya a local Bajrang Dal leader and fellow traveler Naved Khan over possession of seat in local bus led to communal clashes.
The Bus was travelling from Bhopal to Raisen, when the Bus reached its destination Babu Chautaiya called his supporters and attacked Naved Khan seriously injuring him. When Naved Khan’s family reached City Kotwali police station, Bajrang Dal activists also assembled which led to slogan shouting and sporadic clashes between two communities inside the station. Bajrang Dal activists later went on rampage ransacking several shops at Sabzi Mandi area of the town where eight shops were looted and six were put on fire. BD activist also attacked vehicles parked at Maha Maya Chowk and Bus stand; they even tried to torch a petrol bunk in the vicinity. The Jama Masjid of the Raisen town was also damaged in the clashes.
Local police restored to Lathi charge and firing to control the clashing mob in which 3 Muslims received bullet injuries. The injured identified as Manaan Khan, Afsaan Khan and Mateen Khan have been shifted to Bhopal and is currently undergoing treatment at Hamidia Hospital. Local police has arrested nearly 24 people from both the communities in violence related cases. Curfew has been put in place in whole town since late last night.
Mediapersons have been barred from entering into the town. A local resident Sayeed Nada, speaking with TCN over phone, told that riots which started at 7:30 p.m in the evening continued till 10:p.m in the night till the curfew was clamped. “It is Ramzan and we couldn’t buy the essential supplies. Due to curfew doors of the mosques in whole town were locked and people were not allowed to offer any prayer. Rapid Action Force is patrolling the town and warning us not to come outside of our house, claiming shoot at site orders,” Mr. Sayeed told TCN.
Another village bans non-Hindu religious activities, govt sits idle
RAIPUR: Amid controversy over right wing groups motivating gram sabhas or village councils to adopt resolutions banning non-Hindu religious activities in villages in tribal Bastar, Chhattisgarh government seem to be adopting wait and watch policy on how to deal with the situation.  Yet another village, Belar in Lohandiguda block of Bastar district, convened its gram sabha on Sunday and passed a resolution banning all non-Hindu religious activities. On May 10, gram sabha at village Sirisguda in Tongpal block convened under the provisions of 129 (G) of Chhattisgarh Panchayati Raj Act, adopted a similar resolution banning non-Hindu missionaries. The resolution stated that "To stop the forced conversion by some outsider religious campaigners and to prevent them from using derogatory language against Hindu deities and customs, the Sirisguda Gram Sabha bans religious activities such as prayers, meetings and propaganda of all non-Hindu religions." 

Bastar's district Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) president Suresh Yadav claimed that village councils of more than 50 gram panchayats has already adopted such resolutions to ban outsider missionaries from their respective villages. However, Bastar district collector Ankit Anand told TOI, "To our knowledge, only three gram panchayats have passed such a resolution but it is not being enforced anywhere." "Initially, it was brought to our notice that some outsiders were trying to attend gram sabha meeting. Gram sabha is a body of locals and outsiders cannot attend it," he pointed out, admitting that "any resolution by village council banning people from any particular religion or community from the village is legally null and void." He maintained that there was no tension in any of the villages. 

Chhattisgarh Christian Forum president Arun Pannalal said it's the latest strategy of right wing groups to use the influential gram sabhas to adopt such controversial resolutions to mislead the locals to believe that banning non-Hindus is well within the law. Pointing out that panchayat bodies cannot override Article 25 of the constitution that guarantees freedom of religion to all, Pannalal said the state government was silent on the issue for the last three months even as right wing groups were trying to influence gram panchayats in other districts to adopt similar resolution. Veteran Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Chhiaranjan Bakshi told TOI that the matter has been brought up with the Adivasi Mahasabha, a body of local tribals in Bastar, which has registered its strong protest against adopting such resolutions. "CPI national leadership has been apprised about the development and we will do something more against such tactics by right wing groups," he said it's an attempt divide the tribals on religious lines and create trouble.