Hundreds of Police officers, along with bulldozers behind them, demolished the houses of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone city. The demolition took down several Muslim homes and shops in revenge against communal violence that took place on Ram Navami. Social media was flooded with images of massive bulldozers pulling down houses as the helpless family cried in unison. Critics lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, which is also in power in Madhya Pradesh, for threatening the 200 million-strong Muslim population in the country.
'Collective Violence Against Muslim Community'
Many people on the internet are describing the demolition incident as 'collective violence against the Muslim community' since no due procedure was being followed that could justify the act. The violence broke out on the Hindu occasion of Ram Navami when a procession of Hindu devotees went past a Muslim neighbourhood playing investigative music that called for violence against the minority community. Hindu and Muslim groups have reportedly pelted stones at one another.
Moreover, the Muslim community in the area said that the Hindus broke minarets of mosques in the act of violence.
Experts Call The Construction Illegal
BBC reported that the state governments mentioned that the demolitions were a form of punishment for those allegedly involved in stone-throwing and arson. Legally, however, the move has been justified on unauthorised construction - the police claim they are targeting illegal encroachments of people squatting on public land. The District Collector of Khargone, Anugraha P., said the incident was 'a mix of both'.
While officials alleged that the houses were illegal even before the processions, the facts suggest that they were built from the Prime Minister's housing scheme. However, even if the houses were illegally constructed, as the people allege, provisions under the state law (the Madhya Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1956) demand the accused pay a fine instead.