Communal riot in Ratlam: Curfew imposed in City

Communal tension gripped Ratlam town in Madhya Pradesh after anti-social elements threw cowdung at a place of worship.

Angry mob resorted to violence and soon tension spread several parts of the City. Over two dozen houses were attacked and vehicles were torched. The police force has been deployed in sensitive areas of the town but arson and violence was reported.

Cowdung was thrown just when the place of worship was getting a whitewash. Despite policemen firing in the air, the situation could not be controlled. The Rapid Action Force was also sent to the troubled areas. Home Minister Umashankar Gupta is planning to visit the City. Police have recovered arms and ammunitions and taken nearly 100 persons in custody.

Later reports suggested that the policemen committed gross human rights violation and used excessive force against innocent people including women and children. Hundreds of citizens were detained and illegally kept in custody.

The role of police has come under severe criticism. So much that section of people termed it as not a Hindu-Muslim communal riot but policemen committing atrocities. In news reports, the Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr Mayank Jain, who was head of Ratlam police, said that police didn't use excessive force.

But the truth is that police highhandedness is stamped on the streets of Ratlam. It was Khaki terror that was witnessed in Ratlam. Mercifully, a vast majority of the Hindus and Muslims remained calm. Ratlam has a reputation of being an island of peace.

Due to this restraint, the situation didn't worsen, at least, in terms of casualties. One hopes that proper inquiries would be conducted and the role of the Ratlam police officials and policemen who beat up women and went on rampage in houses, would be probed.

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