One after the other, incidents of communal violence and sectarian tension are occurring across the state. While neighbouring Uttar Pradesh is in focus for communal riots, the frequency of incidents in Madhya Pradesh lately has been alarming.
Half-a-dozen incidents of clashes and communal flare-ups have been reported in the last 45-odd days. The latest incident pertains to violence in Khandwa, where one person was killed on July 30, and tension forced the administration to clamp curfew. After the curfew was lifted, another incident of murder earlier this week led to fresh tension and enforcement of Section 144.
While Khandwa has been on the boil for quite some time now, other places that have witnessed flare-up include Susner (Agar) and Raisen. Besides, communal tension occurred in Ujjain and Shahdol over objectionable Facebook posts, leading to mobs taking to streets.
Many of these incidents occurred over seemingly petty rows. Surprisingly, police officials have failed to check the incidents, despite repeated instructions from PHQ to take tough action. In Raisen last month, many people were injured and property damaged during a communal clash last month.
The police had to fire in air and use teargas before imposing curfew. Earlier, in Susner town in Agar district, communal clash erupted after a minor row when a person asked member of another community to remove his vehicle. Ujjain witnessed tension after objectionable photograph was circulated on a social media platform.
When case was not registered, there was a protest. The next day, there was tension after flesh was found near a place of worship. In Shahdol, an objectionable photograph on another social networking site led to tension in different places in the district. People took to the streets after the post was shared. The accused was subsequently arrested.
Khandwa has seen communal tension several times this year and the recent incidents show failure of administration and intelligence in anticipating the trouble.
The Congress has also given a representation to the governor regarding the incidents.
"We have urged the governor to direct the state government to make collectors and SPs accountable if there is communal clash," Mohammad Salim, chief of minority cell of state Congress said.
Have the state government and police, especially the intelligence, been able to check the incidents? Home minister Babulal Gaur said though there had been incidents, none of them were of too serious nature as they emerged out of petty issues. "Directions have been given to police officials to take stern action in this regard," he said.