A petition has been filed with the Supreme Court, asking for a free and fair probe into the demolition of suspected rioters’ homes in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district by a court-monitored special investigation team (SIT).
The petitioners asked the Supreme Court to intervene immediately to stop what they called the municipal administration of Khargone’s “illegal and arbitrary activities.”
The administration has been demolishing the houses of petitioners suspected of being involved in the violence that erupted on April 10 when a group of miscreants allegedly threw stones at a Ram Navami procession, resulting in widespread unrest across the district.
According to the petition, on April 10, a Ram Navami procession in the Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh allegedly played objectionable songs on a DJ and used instigative communal slogans while crossing the Talab Chowk area near Jama Masjid, resulting in heated arguments between two religious groups.
Following that, communal violence erupted near Talab Chowk in Khargone when a Ram Navami procession was stoned by a gang of rioters, resulting in arson, ransacking of shops, and torching of vehicles and buildings across the district, according to the plea.
The State administration ordered the demolition of the properties of rioters involved in the communal violence the next day in order to collect damages. As a result, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said in the media that the homes of rioters participating in the violence would be demolished, according to the appeal.
It claimed that the local government in Madhya Pradesh demolished some of the petitioners’ properties on the pretence or erroneous assumption that they were linked to accused suspects in the Ram Navami riots in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh.
“Around 16 houses and 29 shops were demolished by the authorities, mostly owned by people of Muslim community, citing their involvement in the communal violence,” the plea highlighted.
The administration, acting as executor, has been handing down punishments that aren’t even specified for the offences purportedly committed by the targeted individuals, making the demolition of their properties even more concerning.
“Thus, these acts of the authorities not only reverse the burden of proof against the alleged offenders, they also prevent the accused persons from adequately defending themselves against the allegations.”
The petitioners in their plea sought compensation and the reconstruction of their impacted properties and businesses, which was filed through counsel Adeel Ahmed. The petition demanded that the incident be investigated by a Special Investigations Team (SIT) led by a retired Supreme Court judge, and that those involved in the allegedly illegal exercise face severe consequences.