Bhopal, January 3
The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh will bring a stringent law prescribing “rigorous punishment” for rioters and stone-pelters which will also have a provision to recover compensation from offenders who damage public as well as private assets, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Sunday.
His statement comes in the wake of recent incidents of stone pelting on vehicle rallies taken out in western Madhya Pradesh by some right-wing organisations to raise awareness about the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Notably, a law has been in force in Uttar Pradesh, also ruled by the BJP, for recovery of damages to public and private properties from rioters and protesters.
“Whoever stone-pelters are, they are enemies of the society. Their act can even cause death. It creates an atmosphere of fear and terror…stampede and chaos,” Chouhan told reporters here.
Right-wing organisations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), have claimed that stones were hurled at their rallies from certain localities in Indore and Ujjain districts.
However, Muslims in the Malwa region (western MP) have argued that their places of worship and houses were targeted during these rallies.
Recently, a delegation of VHP’s Malwa Prant called on the CM in Indore and demanded strict action against stone-pelters, a leader has said.
“(Rule of) Law will prevail in Madhya Pradesh. These kinds of criminals are not simple offenders. They won’t be spared. Right now they are let off with light punishment. Now, we are bringing forth a Bill which is being drawn for rigorous punishment,” the chief minister said.
He said besides hurling stones, rioters often damage private properties besides public assets “by force or by torching them”, which is unpardonable.
“Democracy allows people to put forth their view in a peaceful manner, but it does not give permission to ignite fire, indulge in vandalism and throw stones.
“The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to take tough action with punishment against the people damaging and destroying public property and recover compensation from them. If needed the offenders’ properties would be attached to recover money for compensation. Such action will also be taken against the rioters who damage private properties,” Chouhan said.
The chief minister further said he had given instructions for drafting a stringent Bill.
“The work on the Bill has begun. It will be brought out soon,” he added.
On Saturday, Chouhan said stern action and a law were needed against those who indulge in stone pelting.
“At times, stone pelting poses danger to life,” the CM had told top bureaucrats during an online meeting.
Violence was reported during rallies organised by right-wing organisations at Ujjain and in Indore district recently.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress vice president and advocate Sajid Ali told reporters that law should be made to check violence, but it should be implemented impartially.
“Every rally, procession and public gatherings should be video-graphed as soon as they proceed so that any person or group that triggers violence is caught on camera and punished,” he said. — PTI