Nasir Ahmad Khan, 63, a retired assistant sub-inspector of police, was watching the Ram Navami procession from his three-storey building in Tavdi Mohalla of Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district when violence broke out in Talab Chowk.
When the police resorted to a lathi charge and fired tear gas shells in a bid to disperse the mob, Nasir was still watching. After the police action, the mob entered the narrow lanes of Qazipura, Sanjay Nagar, Anand Nagar, Bhausar Mohalla, Khaskhaswadi and Tavdi Mohalla – located within one km from Talab Chowk.
The densely populated Tavdi Mohalla has a sizeable population of both Hindus and Muslims, most of whom belong to marginalised castes.
The state too is allegedly targeting Muslims after the violence by refusing to file FIRs and by demolishing properties owned by community members.
“A mob of over 50 people led by by my neighbour Anil Patel and Ganesh Verma began pelting stones at my house and trying to break the iron gate to come inside the compound. They were hurling not just stones but also communal abuses. I shouted and asked Anil, ‘Tu kya kar raha hai, hum log padosi hain (What are you doing, we are neighbours).’ Minutes later, Anil’s wife joined the mob. With an intention to provoke the mob, she said, ‘Ek hi Musalman hai is gali mein, jala do isko ghar ke saath (There is only one Muslim in the lane, let’s burn him with his house).’ I was shocked and speechless,” Nasir told The Wire. Anil is associated with the right-wing Hindu group Bajrang Dal, he added.
In his police complaint, Nasir named Anil Patel, his wife and his son Swapnil, accusing them of arson, stone pelting and rioting. He also demanded action against Mahesh Verma and Kanha Bharo. But three days after the incident and Nasir’s complaint, no FIR has been registered.