‘Strict law to be enacted against stone-pelting, vandalism’: CM Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Sunday there would be a strict law to deal with the crimes related to stone-pelting and damage to public and private properties in Madhya Pradesh.

“Stone pelters are enemies to the society whoever they may be. Stone pelting is not a simple crime which may cause loss of life, create an atmosphere of fear and terror and result in stampede and chaos. There will be a rule of law in Madhya Pradesh. Such criminals are not petty criminals. They will not be spared”, said chief minister responding to questions from journalists on certain stone-pelting incidents that took place in Malwa region during Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and associated organisations’ public awareness rallies in December last week ahead of its donation seeking campaign from January 14.

The CM added, “There is no strict punishment for such a crime so far. We are going to come with a strict law to deal with such crimes. But there is not just the crime of stone-pelting only. Many a time, trouble makers damage the public property, set it afire and damage private properties too, like someone’s shop is set afire or any other private property is vandalised. This is an unpardonable crime.”

He said democracy has allowed people to express their views peacefully but no one should indulge in arson, stone-pelting and vandalism.

“That’s why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has decided that there will not only be stringent punishment for the crime regarding damage to properties but also penalty will be realised from such persons for such a crime. If need be, such persons’ properties will be confiscated for realisation (of penalty) and compensate the damage,” he added.

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“I have already issued instructions to authorities regarding the new law and work is going on on the same. Soon, there will be such a law,” he told journalists.

There were incidents of stone-pelting on VHP and associated organisations’ public awareness rallies in Ujjain on December 25 and in Indore on December 29. FIRs against about 100 persons were lodged from both sides and several accused were arrested. Provisions of the National Security Act (NSA) were invoked against six accused in Ujjain who were allegedly involved in stone-pelting. House of one of the accused allegedly constructed illegally was razed in Ujjain in a joint operation of district administration, police and the civic body, as per the police and administration authorities.

Reacting upon the CM’s announcement, state Congress media coordinator Narendra Saluja said, “Any strict law against stone-pelting is a welcome step but the CM should also have spoken about the crime about taking out religious rallies without permission, barging into the shrines of a particular religion, coining provocative slogans against the religion, vandalising the particular community’s properties including shrines as were witnessed in Malwa region recently. Is this not a crime in the eyes of the CM? Will he make a provision for stringent punishment on such crimes also?”

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