Following two days of violent celebrations of Ayodhya’s Ram temple consecration in Maharashtra’s Mira Road, on Tuesday, 23 January, authorities initiated bulldozer action in Mira Road’s Muslim-dominated Naya Nagar area, where Hindutva celebrations and confrontations with Muslims occurred.
At least two bulldozers were brought by the anti-encroachment wing of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), which carried out the demolition drive against alleged illegal structures in Mira Road’s Naya Nagar. The targeted shops are owned by Muslims. A heavy police force was present in the area during the demolition drive.
“So far, 15 illegal structures have been pulled down; the drive to weed out the illegalities will continue,” stated a senior MBMC officer.
Anti-Muslim slogans were raised, and clashes erupted in several parts of the state, including Mira Road and Panvel areas adjacent to Mumbai on 21 and 22 January.
At about 11 pm on Sunday, the police reportedly tried to stop a rally of Hindus from entering a Muslim locality, leading to tensions on both sides and clashes. Hindutva supporters in the Hindu rally were chanting genocidal and provocative slogans.
Videos accessed by Maktoob show Muslims’ properties being attacked and vandalized by a saffron mob.
On Sunday, the first FIR was registered under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 307 (attempt to murder), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295A (malicious acts to outrage religious feelings), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 141 (unlawful assembly), 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 149 (commission of an offence by any member of the unlawful assembly), and 427 (damage to the amount of fifty rupees).
The following day, clashes were reported in the area between two groups during which stones were allegedly pelted from both sides. A second FIR has been registered in the matter.
At least 13 people have been arrested in connection with the clashes.