A district-wide bandh was observed in Dhar on Saturday following a call by Hindu organisations spearheaded by Hindu Jagaran Manch to protest against alleged police atrocities against Hindus in recent communal clashes.
Markets, schools and petrol pumps were closed as buses and even personal vehicles were stopped from plying. In the morning, members of Hindu organisation took out a motorcycle rally in Dhar town, urging people to make the bandh a success. Shops remained shut in the morning but few shopkeepers opened their outlets in Muslim-dominated areas such as Pinjarwadi, Udawad Darwaja, Bhaji Bazar and Muradpura in the afternoon with heavy security force.
Another rally had been planned in the afternoon but when senior leaders did not reach the spot, the youths went to the RSS office in Trimurti Nagar and had an altercation with senior RSS leader Vijay Singh, who said the rally had been cancelled. The youths later took out a rally, followed by police.
Hindu Jagaran Manch alleged that police and administration had acted against innocent people and had allowed the real culprits to go scot-free.
Manch local convenor Gopal Sharma demanded that additional director general of police (ADG) Vipin Maheshwari and commissioner Sanjay Dubey should be removed. “These two officials have been targeting a particular community (Hindus). We are in talks at the organisation level. If no action is taken by Saturday evening, we will choose our own course of action,” he said.
Collector Sriman Shukla said the bandh was totally peaceful and that police had acted impartially in the case. He justified imposition of Section 307 (attempted murder) in Pipliya as an attempt had been made to set fire in a house filled with people. He said 52 persons have been arrested so far.
There were communal clashes in Gandhwani, Pipliya, Dhamnod, and Dedla between Hindus and Muslims on Wednesday.