Tensions prevailed in the Gajwel town of Telangana’s Siddipet district on July 3 following an act of desecration by a Muslim man. The angered mob thrashed the accused for urinating on the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Reports claimed that the accused was allegedly paraded naked on the streets and thrashed for doing such a shameful act by local Hindu activists.
Notably, the incident occurred in Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s constituency.
Following the clashes the police dispersed the mob and arrested the Muslim man under charges of desecration and was sent to a 14-day police remand. The accused has been identified as Mohammad Imran.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Gajwel, M Ramesh told media, “We have booked a case under Section 295-A (hurting the religious sentiments and beliefs of other communities) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the accused,” he said.
Following the scuffle people from the two communities clashed and hence the police arrested two people for allegedly creating a law and order situation.
“The two persons have also been remanded to judicial custody,” Ramesh said. “The situation is absolutely under control and peaceful. We have stepped up security in the area to prevent any further untoward incidents.”
The police did not reveal the identity of the two accused held in the case so far.
Following a call given by Hindu organisations, a shutdown was observed in Gajwel on July 4. “It was only partial and there was no disruption to normal life,” the ACP said.
The videos from the site went viral on social media, where the accused was paraded naked following his shameful act. The video shows the accused walking naked on the streets amidst slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, and “Chhatrapati Shivaji Ki Jai”.
A group of men can be seen holding him while a bucket of water is fetched. The drunk man is then forced to pour water at the spot, next to a road divider, and clean the area where he allegedly urinated while drunk. He is then paraded on the road, with clothes torn at some places, amid loud sloganeering by the mob.
These videos were widely circulated on social media and purportedly showed the protesters forcing the accused to clean the area in front of the statue where he had allegedly urinated.
Following the march, the local Muslims also assembled and then a clash erupt between the two groups. It was only after the police intervention that the situation was taken under control.
Siddipet police commissioner N Swetha, who rushed to the spot along with senior officials, spoke to both the warring groups. “We shall take stringent action against those who were behind the incident and also those who were involved in the clashes,” she said.
Meanwhile, Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) leader Amjedullah Khan Khalid alleged that the local police were mute spectators to the incident. He urged the Director General of Police and Siddipet Commissioner to order an inquiry while also demanding security for the minority community.
This is not the first time clashes have been reported related to paying respects to the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Earlier, two groups protested and pelted stones at each other over the installation of a Chhatrapati Shivaji statue in Bodhan town, Nizamabad district, Telangana.
The police resorted to lathi-charge and used tear gas shells to disperse the two groups. According to the police, the statue was placed by one group, which was opposed by another. This resulted in protests and stone pelting.
Then, BJP leader and party MP from Nizamabad Dharmapuri Arvind tweeted: “The Bodhan Municipal Council had accepted to the proposed Shivaji Maharaj’s idol and passed a resolution. Yet, the TRS-MIM hooligans are creating a ruckus and tensions in the town”.
“Now, the ruling TRS councillor openly threatened to disrupt law & order of the Bodhan town, if #ShivajiMaharaj’s idol is installed!,” the BJP leader had said in another tweet.