Authorities in Madhya Pradesh state have demolished three houses belonging to Muslims accused of involvement in a scuffle between youths from two communities in Surajni, a neighboring village of Mandsaur.
Madhya Pradesh police claimed that the Muslim youths disrupted the Hindu festival Navaratri while Muslim families denied the police’s claim.
“The Mandsaur district administration and police on Tuesday demolished the houses of three persons accused of throwing stones on a Garba pandal and attacking organisers with a sharp-edged weapon over the weekend,” the Madhya Pradesh Police said.
“The houses were constructed illegally so we demolished them. We are checking the property papers of all the accused and action will be taken accordingly,” Mandsaur sub-divisional magistrate Sandeep Shiva said to Hindustan Times.
A first information report (FIR) was registered against 19 people of Surjani village and 11 people have been arrested so far.
The demolished houses include the house of Salman Khan, one of the accused in the case.
“How easy has it become to demean Muslim, accuse them of bogus charges and demolish their house in broad daylight. Even if someone is accused of any charge, why the normal legal course is not taken? This communal treatment is totally Islamophobic,” tweeted Muslim activist and community organiser Aasif Mujtaba.
Six months ago, over 50 properties of Muslims were bulldozed by the authorities in the state. The Muslims were falsely accused of violence during another Hindu festival Ram Navami.
Similar demolition drives were seen in Muslim neighborhoods across northern and central India. Muslims argue this is the latest attempt to harass and marginalise them. They point to a pattern of rising Islamophobia under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).