India: Communal violence against Muslim minority in Madhya Pradesh
In Madhya Pradesh state of India hardly a month passes without one or another incident of communal violence not being reported. According to the information furnished in Indian parliament by the Central government, between 2009 and 2013, 432 communal incidents took place in the state and it was among the top three states in the country in this respect.
On September 19, 2013 (Thursday), at about 9 AM, Kalu, a Korku tribal, who works in the fields of a Muslim farmer Taj Khan, drove away a calf by hitting it with a stick as it was entering the field repeatedly. The animal, allegedly, died later. Within moments, a rumor was spread in the Chhipawad-Khirkiya area that Muslims had killed a cow and thrown its body. Subsequently, activists of Hindutva fundamentalist organizations like Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Gau-Raksha Commando force, loaded the dead body of another cow in a tractor-trolley and began a blockade of the Hoshangabad-Khandwa highway at the Maharana Pratap square of Chhipawad.
Soon, a crowd comprising four to five thousand persons gathered at the spot and began raising provocative anti-Muslim slogans. At around 1PM, the violent crowd got divided into two groups. One group assaulted the Imam of the local mosque and ransacked the mosque. The other group marched towards Chhipawad Ward no 14 and set 20-25 houses afire.
The well-planned way in which the huts of the poor and innocent Muslims were reduced to ashes at Chhipawad, seemed as if an organized army had attacked and wreaked destruction in an enemy area. Nothing has been left in the houses that have been burnt down. Food grains, clothes, furniture – everything has been reduced to ashes. Many women have been left with just the clothes they have on their bodies.
The son of local MLA and another person called Surendra Purohit (Tiger) have emerged as the key conspirators and executioners of the rioting and violence.
The post-riot situation is a matter of deep concern. The families which have become victims of arson and violence are ousters of Harsud. The administration has given Cheques of Rs 5 to 50 thousand each to the families in the name of compensation for their loss. The amount is too small. With this amount, it is impossible for the victims to rebuild their houses, buy household goods, clothes, food grains and copies and books for the children. The children are in a state of shock. They look terrified and traumatized. Many children get up in the middle of the night and start shrieking. Whenever they seen an outsider, they get apprehensive. “Will he burn our houses again?”, they ask.
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