More than 10,000 Muslims gathered at Eidgah and Regal Square in Indore on Tuesday afternoon and demanded action against Kamlesh Tiwari, a Hindu Mahasabha leader from Uttar Pradesh who allegedly made derogatory comments about Prophet Mohammed.
The rally began in Eidgah at 10am and reached Regal Square at 1pm. A section of the crowd resorted to pelting stones at shops, breaking the windscreens of around six vehicles.
Policemen from more than 12 police stations of the district were called to contain the situation. Following the violence, extra personnel were called and deployed at the square.
“We have organised a peaceful protest against Tiwari. We want a law to be passed — that whosoever gives derogatory comment against any religious God should be given severe punishment,” said Zaid Pathan, a member of the Brotherhood of Muslim, adding that the protest had been organised by more than half a dozen of Muslim outfits in the city.
The shops near Regal Square and some other parts of the city remained closed following the protest.
“The situation is under control. No one is injured and the city is peaceful. Extra police forces were called to prevent any untoward incident,” said SP (east) OP Tripathi, who had rushed to Regal Square after the protest began.
Similar protests also took place in Raisen and Harda districts in the state. In Begumganj city, representatives of the community handed over a memorandum to tehsildar RK Singh which was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, in which they demanded that action be taken against Tiwari.
A memorandum was also handed over to Harda collector, with the protestors demanding that a case of sedition be registered against “anarchist elements”.
Tiwari had allegedly made the controversial remarks in retaliation to UP cabinet minister Azam Khan’s statement, where he had claimed that RSS members are homosexual.
For his remarks, Tiwari had been arrested by Lucknow police on December 3. The next day, the Hindu Mahasabha distanced itself from Tiwari, claiming that he was not a member of their organisation and that their name had been misused by him.
Local intelligence failure?
The rally of over 10,000 people alarmed Indore citizens, who questioned why the police was not aware of such a massive gathering, terming it an ‘intelligence failure’.
Senior police officials claimed that they were prepared for such a large crowd, but were not expecting any untoward incident. “Only a section of the crowd has created the panic,” a senior police officer said.
Meanwhile, Indore DIG Santosh Kumar Singh told Hindustan Times that all those who resorted to violence would be dealt with strictly. “We are conducting an inquiry into the whole issue and action will be taken,” he said.