Muzaffarnagar riots panel blames officials, silent on Akhilesh Yadav

Lucknow(PTI): The one-man judicial commission of inquiry that probed the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots has done the predictable. It has virtually exonerated the Alhilesh Yadav government which appointed the Justice Vishnu Sahai inquiry panel. It has rather conveniently concluded that intelligence failure and laxity on the part of police led to the violence that left 62 people dead and about 50,000 homeless. The report says nothing on the role of the incumbent state government in the conflagration.

The commission’s 700-page report was tabled in the state assembly on Sunday. Interestingly, the report accuses the media of exaggerating reports and spreading rumours that fuelled violence.
The BJP has rejected the Sahai panel report as “incomplete” and demanded a CBI inquiry into the riots.
“The inquiry report tabled in the Assembly is a mixture of half-truths,” BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Khanna said.
He alleged the report was biased and did not reveal the real culprits, provocation of riots and how they spread.
UP minister Azam Khan also targeted the media for the riots, saying “Media had a big role in exaggerating the riots. In America you can’t show bodies and bloodshed.”
The commission said polarisation along communal lines following the murder of two young men by a youth from minority community in Kawal town on August 27, 2013, was the trigger behind the riots.
It said failure of the intelligence unit was an important reason behind the violence.
The panel said the riots took place as the then Inspector of intelligence unit Prabal Pratap Singh failed to give exact figure of people going to attend a Mahapanchayat at Mandaur. The Hindus, particularly Jats, returning from the Mahapanchayat were allegedly attacked by the minorities, fuelling tensions further.
The proceedings of the Mahapanchayat were not recorded and there was laxity on the part of the then SSP Subhash Dube, due to which violence spread to Saharanpur, Shamli, Baghpat and Meerut, the panel said. Apart from the killing of 62 people, the riots saw thousands rendered homeless in these districts.
Though the report did not mention anything against the Akhilesh Yadav regime, leaders of opposition parties are in no mood to spare the state government.
“The Chief Minister cannot escape the blame as law and order is a state subject,” said UP Congress chief Nirmal Khatri. “The BJP and SP were hand in glove in engineering the riots for electoral gains in the 2014 Lok Sabha election,” he alleged.