21 Kawad pilgrims hurt in police lathi-charge, police threaten media persons also


Ujjain : At least 21 members, including children, of Jai Shri Mahakal Kawad Mitra Mandal, Indore sustained injuries when dozens of policemen, led by IPS officer Saurabh Mishra resorted to cane charge them here on Monday morning. The incident occurred just before the arrival of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan at the Mahakaleshwar Temple. According to police, the action was to clear way for the chief minister. Agitated over the incident, Kawad pilgrims later staged a demonstration and also tried to stop the CM’s motorcade. Some media persons were also threatened by the police for clicking the police action on the temple premises. On the instruction of the CM, an enquiry has been ordered by the IGP in the matter.

The CM along with his family members arrived here some 15 minutes ahead of the schedule time. Immediately, messages were sent on the walky-talky sets to clear the roads and temple premises for the CM’s motorcade and his pujan programme at the temple. When the CM reached at the temple at about 10.50 am, instructions were again passed to remove ordinary devotees from the garbh griha and ‘jal dwar’. At that time about 51 members of Indore’s Jai Shri Mahakal Kawad Mitra Mandal were waiting for their turn to pour waters of Narmada river on the Mahakal Jyotirlingam. Meanwhile, policemen on duty directed them to leave the place immediately and started to push them out from there. When some of the Kawad pilgrims protested it and tried to know the reason, policemen started abusing them. The policemen also misbehaved and thrashed some of them black and blue. The cops even tore the clothes of the pilgrims. Meanwhile, CSP Saurbah Mishra reached there and lathi-charged the pilgrims. His sub-ordinates also joined him in the action. About 21 Kawad pilgrims, including some children, injured in the police action and were taken to the hospital. Some media persons on the temple premises clicked the police excesses. Fumed over media persons’ act, the police officers reportedly threatened them saying “be ready for dire consequences”. Before the CM could understand anything, the administration cleared the area by hook or crook and taken him immediately to the garbh griha. He remained in the garbh griha and Nandi Hall for about 90 minutes. Only few darshanarthis were allowed to reach there during that time. It was first Monday of the Shravan month and thousands of darshanarthis, including Kawad pilgrims, were waiting for their turn to take a glimpse of the presiding deity. Surprisingly about hundred supporters of the BJP leaders were allowed to enter the Nandi Hall to witness the anushthan being performed by the CM and his family members. When Chauhan came out, the media persons tried to get his reaction on the incident. But he pleaded ignorance saying he would see it. When the CM’s motorcade was about to leave from the temple on the direction of Mahakal Ghati, the Kawad pilgrims sat on the road and tried to stop his vehicle. Some of them also approached him to convey their submissions. Chauhan patiently heard their woes and assured to do the needful. Before departing from here, the CM reportedly expressed annoyance over the entire incident and ordered an enquiry. On being contacted, IG V Madhukumar confirmed to Free Press that the SP has been asked to submit an enquiry report into the matter soon.

Mahakaleshwar Temple Management Committee administrator Jayant Joshi said that Kawad pilgrims created disturbances there and the CM arrived at the time when ‘bhog aarti’ was in progress in the garbh griha.

Source: The Free Press Journal