National

Peace returns to Indore after 9 days of curfew

Ujjain: Though the curfew in Indore has come to an end and the area is limping back to normalcy, it has left scars not only on communal harmony but has also dealt a severe blow to the economy of the area. That a feud between a few boys should throw the people of both the communities into an abyss of hatred and mistrust and bring woes and suffering in the lives of thousands is a matter that the elderly people of both the communities must think about and evolve a strategy whereby such a situation does not arise again. Each community should warn its wayward youths to strictly adhere to discipline and not to tarnish the image of the community.

Violence had erupted in Chandan Nagar locality on 20 August following the recovery of a cow carcass from a place of worship. Curfew was clamped same day and it was lifted only on 29 August once peace returned to the area. Nearly 50 people, including 20 police personnel, were injured in the stone pelting and clashes.

While the blame game began from day one, each party accusing the other of begining the riot; the media blames the administration for its apathy and lack of intelligence reports. The handling of tear gas shells, quality of tear gas guns made rioters laugh at the incompetence of policemen. While Digvijay Singh accused Hindu organisations of fanning the fire; Kailash Vijayvargiya accused Congress of sparking it. Video footage, however, shows office-bearers of BJP involved in stone-pelting. Patrika newspaper has named these persons saying that it has footage of the video. Meanwhile, police has arrested three persons accused of slaughtering a cow and dumping it in front of a temple. It claims that they have confessed to their crime and an autorickshaw used in carrying the carcass has also been recovered.

Dr Ishrat Ali Qadri, the city Qazi, along with the Mufti of Malwa toured the area and listened to the woes of the people who complained that police did not spare anyone - neither children nor women in raining blows. Earlier, the city Qazi had made a dash to Bhopal to apprise the CM about the facts demanding a probe.

One can heave a sigh of relief that it did not claim any loss of life though a 22-year-old youth, Wasim, is in a critical condition. He had been on the ventilator and is now responding to treatment. A few policemen were also injured and are also reported responding to treatment. The city deserves appreciation for the restraint it observed and the riot remained confined to only one police station area and the rest of the city remained not only calm but celebrated Rakhi with traditional fervour. The administration maintained constant vigil as not only festivals like Dussera, Diwali, Idul-Azha are so close but also because of the forthcoming elections. The administration cannot overlook the challenges such situations pose at such crucial a juncture which the politicians are so keen to exploit for party gains.

Several families in the affected area could not celebrate Rakhi; a patient Akram (35) suffering from cancer remained deprived of milk, his only source of nutrition for two days. An elderly person Ibrahim Kasim (75), who lost his nephew in Bhusawal, had to be escorted out of the area by police party. Two women were sent in an ambulance to hospital for delivery. A dead body was sent to the burial grounds in a carrier.

Both the communities must ensure that their youths do not endanger peace of the locality while playing cricket or driving bikes. Just a few boys should not be allowed to play with the security and welfare of thousands of people.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2013 on page no. 4

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