In Kukshi Tehsil of Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, a Ganesh Chaturthi procession got out of control, leading to property damage in the Imam Badha and Jamadar Mohalla areas. Shops and Mandi were set ablaze and looted during the incident.
There were at least 2,000 people in the procession, which consisted of three groups – Shirvi Samaj, Patidar Samaj, and Bhausar Mohalla. These groups were coming from different routes and were supposed to meet at Patel Chowk. However, due to a lack of proper planning, there was a roadblock near Datahari Mandir, causing confusion and a traffic jam. This led to a brawl between the three groups at the same spot.
Tensions escalated during the Ganesh Chaturthi procession, which began at 7:30 p.m. and continued until midnight, as provocative songs and slogans targeting Muslims were played.
The people in the procession played controversial songs such as “Topi wala bolega, Jai Shree Ram” near a mosque. This led to confrontations and stone pelting, resulting in 8 injuries, including a policeman, and vandalism and arson targeting Muslim-owned shops.
A member of Sheher Aam Muslim Jamat said, “We didn’t say anything when they played that song and let them continue with their celebrations. But their own confusion regarding routes and the traffic jam pressure led to a fight between themselves, and they pelted stones against each other. From the Datahari mandir spot, they ran towards the Badhpudha area. There is no evidence that anyone from our community did stone pelting or any other activity against the people in the procession but the Muslim shops in the Imam Badha area became a target of that chaos.”
Khan, a resident from the Badhpudha area of Kukshi said that the people fear that the Muslim community in the area may become “a target of a blame game”, as the same had happened in the Khargone district of MP after the 2022 riots. He said that their homes can become a target of demolition drives.
Khan and other residents of the area are busy collecting evidence of the night, photos and videos, trying to identify the stone pelters who were part of the procession.
According to the Police, during the Anant Chaturdashi procession in the sensitive Barpura area of Kukshi, Madhya Pradesh, a dispute arose due to pushing, briefly halting the event but it was resolved with their help. Later, around midnight, stone-throwing occurred, causing panic. Miscreants set fire to a clothing shop and a mobile store, vandalized and burned vehicles, and damaged shops.
Dhar’s collector and SP visited the area, initiating a survey to evaluate the damage and urging the local authorities to identify and prosecute the culprits.
The Observer Post tried to contact the SDPO, Thana Incharge, and the SDM, but none of the government officials responded.