New Delhi: The village of Dorana, where a rally held by Vishwa Hindu Parishad deteriorated into the ransacking of Muslim houses and led to a flag hoisting on a mosque, still hasn’t recovered.
A ground report by the Indian Express from Dorana in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district observed that there is “unsettling silence” even two days after the violence, with police taking stock and debris strewn on the road from ransacked homes.
The incident took place on Tuesday when 5000 workers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) marched through the village in a rally after messages on social media for “Hindu brothers” to join the march with saffron flags.
According to the report, another social media message circulated before that rally calling on people to teach the “descendants of Aurangzeb” a lesson for stopping an earlier rally on December 25 for playing music outside the mosque.
Ahead of the December 28 rally, villagers had already petitioned the Superintendent of Police to seek protection. Speaking to the Express, a villager, Shahid Hussain Mansuri stated that the local police inspector had assured them of security and asked them to remove flags and remain indoors on rally day.
However, many of the women were sent to the adjoining village due to the uncertainty of police help, while men stayed back to defend the property.
Before the rally, the police inspected the terraces to check that there were no stones on the terraces.
In the afternoon, around 5,000 men entered the village, wielding swords, sticks and stones and saffron flags. They were mostly in the age group of 15-25 years and had joined from the bordering state of Rajasthan
A resident, Fakeer Mohammad, 60 said that the mob “ransacked houses, parked cars, CCTV cameras and even hit the cattle tied outside”. They also climbed atop the mosque and put up saffron flags.
Mandsaur’s SP, Siddharth Choudhary stated that he had deployed 100 men, six inspectors, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) under the Additional SP.
“We had given clear instruction to our force deployed in the village that nothing should happen to the masjid — which was ensured. The flag put up was immediately removed by the police personnel present there,” Choudhary told Express, adding that a few men were carrying swords.
Mohammad narrated that the men in the rally chased several villagers, including his nephew Abdul Hakim, who ran for their life. Mohammad himself was pursued, and a Hindu family finally sheltered him.
The nephew’s two-storied house was severely damaged, and case and ornaments were stolen. At least four FIRs were filed by residents of theft and damage to properties.
A constable in the Armed forces, Nazar Mohammad Mansoori, claimed that his house was ransacked, vehicles damaged, while his brother’s shop was looted. “Residents were sharing the videos on Whatsapp group, and all I could do was watch it helplessly despite being in the force myself,” he told Express.
The local VHP leaders claimed that the damage was done by people who were not associated with their organisation. “Some unidentified people took saffron flags and joined the rally. VHP has no affiliation with them. We are trying to trace them (those who resorted to stone-pelting). Ours was a peaceful rally called only to create awareness (of donation to Ram Temple,” said Sohanji Vishwakarma, Regional Minister (Prant Mantri) of the Malwa region for Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
On the communal messages, he claimed, “It was perhaps done locally owing to some personal disputes… VHP does not have anything to do with it.”
Jan Jagran rallies organised last week which led to clashes reported in several parts of Madhya Pradesh. Along with Dorana villages, clashes were also reported from Ujjain and Indore.
The police have so far arrested five persons and registered complaints against 58 others.