Khargone violence aftermath: Muslims allege police of highhandedness, arresting ‘innocent youth’

Group of Muslim women heading towards SP office | Photo: Free Press Journal

Accusing the Khargone police of harassment, protesting women said that they have been forced to hit the streets because of the persistent persecution of the community and warned that they will continue to protest till the police’s high-handedness is stopped.

Muhammad Raafi | 

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KHARGONE, MADHYA PRADESH — Scores of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone Tuesday marched the streets in protest against the “police-highhandedness” and accused the police force of arresting innocent Muslim youth during nocturnal raids. Those who participated in the protest included women and children. 

The protesting women alleged that the police were inhumanely treating their kith and kin in the name of the “rule of law”. They said that police were acting arbitrarily by raiding the homes of Muslims. “Instead of opening the doors, they crash the doors and ruthlessly beat the male members,” they said. 

Accusing the police of harassment, the women said that they have been forced to hit the streets because of the persistent persecution of the community and warned that they will continue to protest till the police’s high-handedness is stopped.

The Madhya Pradesh Police detained three “main accused men”, all Muslims, on Monday after last month’s communal violence in Khargone.

On Sunday, Special Armed Force Commandant Ankit Jaiswal said that 182 people had been detained in 72 instances related to the violence. The hunt for the other accused suspects, according to Jaiswal, is still on.

On April 10, several individuals allegedly threw stones at a Ram Navami parade in Khargone’s Talab Chowk neighbourhood, while protesting loud and offensive music being played on loudspeakers. As a result, clashes erupted at the Gaushala Marg, Tabadi Chowk, Sanjay Nagar, and Motipura sectors. The violence left at least 24 individuals wounded.

During the riots, ten homes, largely belonging to Muslims, were set ablaze. On April 18, the local government named a 28-year-old man who had gone missing during the communal tensions as the first victim of the violence.

Iqbal Bani, who reportedly incited the violence in Anand Nagar, was detained in Ratlam district on Sunday, according to Jaiswal. Afzal, the second accused, was arrested in Indore and is suspected of being responsible for the rioting in the Bhatwadi region. Arsh, the case’s third primary suspect, was apprehended near Khargone’s Kasrawad town.

On April 11, the Madhya Pradesh government demolished homes and 

shops belonging to Muslims in Khargone. Deputy Inspector General of Police Khargone Range, Tilak Singh, claimed that the homes that were demolished belonged to those who had thrown stones during the procession.

On April 12, the state government set up a two-member claims tribunal to assess the damage caused by the communal violence.

The protesters said that the police were deliberately targeting Muslims while those who incited the violence were roaming free. “This is injustice. Mosques were burnt down and looted. The police didn’t act against those involved.”

They alleged that the media was also showing just one side of the story.

On Wednesday, tensions escalated in Khargone after Muslims visited the SP office with a memorandum on police action in light of the recent violence in the district. While the members alleged that police were arresting ‘innocent Muslim children’ in connection with the Ram Navami violence, Police claimed that the people reached the office to ‘pressurize’ the cops against the arrests made so far.

“Some people have come here to pressurize us against arrests we made regarding the violence. They have been told, that upon analyzing the video footage those found innocent will be released while those found involved won’t be spared,” Neeraj Chourasia, ASP, Khargone was quoted by media.

Visuals from the police station showed people of the Muslim community reaching the police station. The group alleged that the police were ‘arresting innocent Muslim children and the elderly without substantial evidence’. “We had a word with SP and demanded that our people must be released,” they said in a memorandum.


Muhammad Raafi is a journalist based in New Delhi. He tweets at @MohammadRaafi