On Tuesday, December 29, the predominately Muslim village of Dorana in Madhya Pradesh, India was viciously and abruptly ambushed by a radical Hindu nationalist mob. Fortunately, the village’s Muslim residents were able to evacuate for safety, meaning that there were no associated injuries or deaths. However, buildings and belongings were ransacked and damaged during the assault.
Eye-witnesses report that the group of Hindutva attackers were up to 5,000 individuals, the majority of whom brandished weapons. From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the assailants ransacked Muslim homes, stole cash and valuables such as jewelry, removed Islamic symbols and flags, and vandalized buildings. One man, Hakim, reported that he lost a substantial amount of cash and jewelry during the ambush, and that much of his home and furniture was destroyed:
“They instilled fear in the heart of the villagers. They chased away the villagers with sticks, and even opened fire at them. The vandals mainly targeted seven or eight big houses and looted two shops.”
“They kept damaging properties for three to four hours. All Muslims had left the village. They played DJ in front of the mosque to incite the Muslims. No one said anything on this as no one was there.”
It was later revealed that the Hindutva mob’s attack on Dorana village were part of a broader plan to collect funds for the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, and that a message was circulated among a handful of Hidutva groups – Vishwa Hindu Parishand; Bajrang Dal; Shri Rashtriya Shivshakti Sangathan; Shri Rashtriya Rajput Kerni Sena – instructing members to conduct a mass ambush on Dorana village in order to loot. The direction came from Lokandra Singh Maukhedi.
This incident is not isolated. Over the past couple of weeks, a series of Hindu radical mobs have descended on multiple primarily-Muslim communities. Also on December 29, a Muslim village in Indore district, Madhya Pradesh, was ambushed by Hindutva mobs who chanted “Jai Shri Ram” slogans at Muslim worshippers at a mosque and attempted to tear down the building’s minaret. Just a few days prior to the incidents in Dorana and Indore, a group of members from the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (a pro-Hindu pro-BJP youth group) arrived in the Muslim village of Begum Bagh and drove their motorcycles around, slandering and stone-pelting villagers.
Vineet Tiwari, an activist and member of National Secretary of the Progressive Writers’ Association, explained his view on the situation, highlighting that he found it noteworthy that the Hindutva mob violence in Madhya Pradesh is happening concurrently with the farmers’ protesters, stating: “This is all planned in a very systematic manner in BJP-ruled states. They are trying to provoke these communal issues and Muslims so that the attention from the farmers’ agitation can be shifted. Also in MP, [Madhya Pradesh], they are going to face local body elections.”
Tens of individuals have been arrested and are currently being investigation for their part in planning in participating in these ambushes.