Saturday, June 22, 2024

Neglecting intelligence report: Khargone violence takes a ‘dubious’ turn 

Photo: Meer Faisal/Maktoob

Blaming on the Intelligence failure of State Police regarding Khargone violence Madhya Pradesh’s Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan asked the additional director general (ADG-Intelligence) Adarsh Katiyar at a meeting of top police officers to submit before him an action plan for a robust intelligence system in the State.

CM Shivraj also directed the Intelligence unit of State to ensure that coming festivals, Parshuram Jayanti and Eid are celebrated peacefully. 

However, new reports and information received from the Police Headquarters situated in Bhopal portray a negligence role of Khargone police during and prior to the violence unleashed by Hindutva groups that left several families displaced, injured and missing; one death been reported as on 25 April. 

10 days before the Ram Navami procession scheduled in Khargone, Intelligence unit of Madhya Pradesh already alerted the local police of Khargone on the deteriorating conditions in the district to Inspector General (IG) and Superintendent of Police (SP). The confidential report submitted to the Khargone police by Intelligence stated that special security should be arranged at 7 places including Talab Chowk and Jama Masjid major hotspots area where the violence escalated. Under special security, three-layered security arrangements were asked at the hotspots. Deployment of maximum police force in the first layer, high-rise surveillance in the second layer and mobile surveillance in the third layer. Question arises when the local police was priorly alerted by the intelligence, why preparations of such security was not done in Khargone?  

On the contrary, reviewing the law and order situation in the State meeting of top cops, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reprimanded the intelligence officers for not getting the inputs of Khargone violence. The Chief Minister have also sought an answer from ADG Intelligence as to why the information was not received before the riots. 

Indore Range IG Rakesh Gupta speaking to a local daily state that – ‘We were very cautious on Ram Navami in Khargone. We had provided additional security not only to Khargone but also to Khandwa district. Now, only the incharge SP can tell how he used this allotted security force.’ 

Understanding three layer security: 

First Layer – Deployment of maximum police force.

Second layer – High rise surveillance meaning surveillance of the area from tall buildings with the help of drones.

Third Layer – Surveillance in the area with a mobile van.

Sensitive zones in Khargone marked by the Intelligence: 

Talab Chowk – regarded as the most sensitive area with a mosque right in front of it. Violence took place here at Sheetla Mata Mandir Road in Gaushala Marg, Kazipura. Stones were pelted and houses belonging to Muslims were set on fire.

Jama Masjid – Behind the mosque is the part of Imalipura. Police claims that stones and petrol bombs were kept on the roofs there to be later used in violence.

Guruva Darwaza – Guruva Samaj dominance in found in this area. There are five to six temples of Shiva, Hanuman, Mata at the crossroads along with very dense settlement. The area is right in front of Muslim Bahu Basti Sahakar Nagar.

Kalali Kuan – One kilometer from Talab Chowk, Guruv Mohalla to narrow road. Both Hindu and Muslim families are settled here.

Jhanda Chowk – The intersection connecting Bhavsar locality, Sarafa. This is a Muslim dominated area under the fort. On the other hand the area of ​​old dense Hindu settlement is also located in this area.

Dhan Mandi Masjid– Violence took place in in the buffer areas Pathanwadi, Bhavsari and Marwari adjoining it.

Kaharwadi – Intelligence unit of Madhya Pradesh at priority already alerted Khargone police regarding Kaharwadi area highlighting the possibilities of disturbances in the surrounding parts.

At the time of violence in Khargone SP Siddharth Choudhary who also sustained a bullet injury on his leg during the violence is believed to be playing no vital role during the violence without providing additional security and deploying security in sensitive areas marked by the intelligence. Also the police in CCTV footage obtained from various sources also shows local policemen standing and doing nothing while the Hindutva miscreants continued throwing stones and fire-bombs at houses and mosques. Though the SP himself is injured, the blame cannot be shifted from him. 

Why additional security was not deployed in the sensitive areas highlighted by the intelligence even when additional security was given to the Khargone police? Why the Khargone SP neglected all the reports of intelligence pertaining to Ram-Navami occasion? 

The violence unleashed by Hindutva groups in Khargone displaced many, some families even migrating to other cities in the fear of future tensions in the area but surely the aftermaths of the violence also involve questioning SP Siddharth Chaudhary’s devious role in Khargone during and before the violence happened.

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