Bollywood film Pathaan which was released in theatres on 25 January witnessed protests across the country. In Indore, one such protest march led to communal tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups.
Hindu activists including volunteers from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal organised protests in as many as 25 big and small theatres against the film. They were asking people to boycott the film as it is against ‘Hindu’ culture. They accused Shahrukh Khan of promoting Pakistan’s agenda in India.
The protests were smooth and visuals show that it was done peacefully. There were ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and recitations of ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ in front of theatres.
Some visuals from the protests in Indore:
Later a video started circulating on the internet claiming Bajrang Dal volunteers disrespected Prophet Mohammad during their protest. A case was registered against them for raising provocative slogans hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims.
As per a report, Muslim activists claimed that the district Bajrang Dal head, Tannu Sharma, was leading a protest at Kastur Cinema Hall. In that protest some activists raised slogans against Prophet Mohammad causing ‘blasphemy’.
After the video of the alleged sloganeering went viral on the internet, Muslim groups started assembling at various police stations across the city. They reached the Chandan Nagar police station, Khajrana police station and the Chhatripura police station demanding action.
All this happened on 26 January.
As per a report by Naiduniya, the protests on the Muslim side were headed by Mufti Sayyed Sabir Ali, Maulana Ahmad Miya, Shadab Hafiz and husband of a woman councillor, Rafiq Mansuri.
Following the protests, police registered a case against unknown Bajrang Dal activists. So far the police have arrested four of them. The case was registered at Chhatripura police station. The Hindu activists were booked under IPC section 505 (statement conducting public mischief).
After the arrests were made on the Hindu side, videos from the Muslim side started circulating on the internet.
These videos showed them chanting the slogan, “Gustakh-E-Rasool ki ek hi saza, sar tan se juda, sar tan se juda” (“There is only one punishment for speaking against the Prophet and that is beheading”). This slogan is a direct call for beheading. In recent times, several Hindu men have been killed or beheaded for alleged insult of Islam’s founder, radicalised by these street slogans.
The Muslim protesters can be seen raising these slogans in front of police stations.
Watch the clip below:
Similar slogans were raised at a square near Khajrana police station.
With every passing hour, the Muslim protests intensified and people including women and children joined in.
As per this report, the Muslim activists did not stop there as they assembled near Jam-Jam Square. Within no time, thousands of people assembled at the square and attacked a Hindu youth with a knife. The victim has been identified as Kanishka.
The violent mob started moving towards the Khajrana Ganesh temple, but the police managed to stop them. The police teams have identified the accused as Fukran, Irfan and Mohammad Rehman. All of them managed to escape and the police teams are trying to locate them.
Muslims took out a protest in Mahu town near Indore demanding arrests for the accused who raised slogans against Prophet Mohammad.
Muslim groups also raised ‘sar tan se juda’ slogans in the Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh.
After these videos went viral, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists reached the police commissioner’s office. Then a case was registered against unknown miscreants at the Sadar Bazar police station late at night on 26 January.
Some people have been arrested in this case, but the numbers are yet to be confirmed.
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