Muzaffarnagar riot report invites angry reactions from all quarters

While the judicial commission looking into the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots gave a clean chit to both the BJP and the SP led UP government, observers said the two parties had indulged in “match-fixing” for the upcoming state Assembly polls.

While the single-member judicial commission looking into the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots gave a clean chit to both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party led Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday, observers said the two parties had indulged in “match-fixing” for the upcoming state Assembly polls.

The commission, headed by Justice (retd) Vishnu Sahai, instead blamed intelligence failure and laxity on the part of two senior police officials for the violence that had left 62 people dead.

“The Sahai report on Muzaffarnagar riots should make PM Narendra Modi proud as it gives total clean chit to BJP against whom I took up cases and that UP is going the Gujarat way. The game is clear: For 2017 elections, the BJP will communally polarise the Hindus in its favour and the Akhilesh Yadav government will allow it so that counter mobilisation of Muslims falls in its own kitty. The match has been fixed from the very start,” said lawyer-activist Shehzad Poonawalla

The report, incidentally, invited angry reactions from all quarters as the BJP and the SP blamed each other and the rest blamed the two. The BJP rejected the report as incomplete and demanded a CBI inquiry into the riots.

BJP legislature party leader Suresh Khanna said: “The inquiry report is a mix of several semi-truths. It is one sided and does not highlight the real culprits, reasons, causes of provocation and how it spread. The SP government shifted the blame onto BJP and our seven senior leaders were detained without any reason. The real picture would have emerged if the commission had probed the incident thoroughly,” he said in a statement.

“The report is blaming the Centre that we didn’t give intelligence (inputs). Our home minister at that time had again and again said we provided information. The UP government cannot run away from its responsibility,” Congress’ Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.

BSP’s Sudhindra Bhadoria said the riots are the most unfortunate incident after Independence. “The CM is responsible for this since it happened under Akhilesh Yadav,” he said. Meanwhile, SP leader Azam Khan put the blame at the media’s door, saying it over-exaggerated the incident. “In America, you can’t show dead bodies and bloodshed,” he said.

The 700-page report was tabled in the UP Assembly on Sunday. It said the riots, following the murder of two persons by a youth from a minority community in Kawal town on August 27, 2013, took place as the then inspector of intelligence unit Prabal Pratap Singh failed to give an exact number of people going to attend a mahapanchayat at Mandaur. The proceedings of the mahapanchayat were not recorded and there was laxity on the part of the then SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey due to which violence spread to Saharanpur, Shamli, Baghpat and Meerut, it said.

The commission asked the then DM Kaushal Raj Sharma as to what law and order arrangements had been made in the wake of the mahapanchayat and why it was not videographed.

It also said transfer of the then DM Surendra Singh, who was replaced by Sharma, and SSP Manjil Saini before the riots led to resentment among members of the Jat community. The commission also said the media exaggerated the reports regarding the violence.

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