FIR lodged against many BJP Many leaders including son of former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Raman SinghViolence erupted in Kawardha town of Kabirdham district over a march taken out on Tuesday by Hindu organizations in violation of curfew. Kawardha has been under curfew since Monday, with a slight relaxation on Saturday.
Around 3,000 people were seen carrying swords and sticks in the march through Kawardha (the district’s name was recently changed to Kabirdham).
FIR registered on Friday under sections of rioting, promoting enmity between communities and sabotage, name of Raman Singh’s son Abhishek, BJP Rajnandgaon VHP district president Nandlal Chandrakar is accompanied by MP Santosh Pandey, former MLA Motiram Chandravanshi and 10 other BJP leaders. Raman Singh has represented Kawardha assembly seat many times. More than 90 people have been detained or arrested on both sides since Tuesday’s violence.
According to locals, the matter started on last Sunday, October 3, when two groups got into an altercation over green and saffron colored flags. A history sheeter was allegedly beaten up by some Muslim men. The latest controversy over flags followed stone pelting at a local temple.
Even as curfew was imposed in the city, BJP leaders including Abhishek, Pandey and others took out a rally on Tuesday. The FIR states that the mob created ruckus, pelted stones at the police, caused extensive damage to property and raised communally charged slogans. Over a dozen civilians and police personnel were injured.
MP Pandey told The Sunday Express that the anger flared up because of the administration’s “anti-Hindu” bias. “The police is free to arrest me. However, we are seeing how the police is working only against Hindu groups… Although we do not condone violent actions, emotions are difficult to control when anger is high. We are also against the use of unparliamentary language, but these things happen under sentiments.
While a local Mahant Kashyap said he had not seen such communal tension in decades, Shoaib Akhtar, a ‘hafiz’ of a mosque, said the police were “unable to do much”. “I was pulled from my vehicle and beaten up. The police were just waving their batons and trying to drive away the armed men.”
While the BJP has accused the Congress government of not being able to maintain law and order in their state, Congress leaders have accused the BJP of polarizing the situation.
Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik said that BJP leaders are being targeted. “Abhishek Singh and Santosh Pandey (at the rally) were trying to defuse the situation and help the police. But instead of finding out the real culprits, the police booked public figures.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said, “Investigation is under process in Kawardha. If the BJP has any information, the Leader of the Opposition is free to share it with the police and action will be taken.
On Saturday, the police released the names of those detained under six FIRs, including people from both the communities.