41,000 displaced, SP government still looks the other way
A fact finding team which recently visited Muzaffarnagar says that the Samajwadi Party government has failed in its responsibility towards the people
Souzeina Mushtaq Delhi
“The District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told us that he knew that the violence was might happen in the city but he did not anticipate that it will spill over to the villages,” said Seema Mustafa, a senior journalist who recently visited riot hit Muzaffarnagar. Mustafa was part of a six member fact-finding team comprising of activist Harsh Mander, senior journalists John Dayal and Sukumar Muralidharan, former police officer EN Rammohan and Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a senior professor teaching at JNU.
The statement of the DM is crucial for the Samajwadi Party government in the state is evading taking responsibility for its administrative inefficiency and culpability in the spread of the deadly Jaat-Muslim riots which left nearly 50 people dead and almost 41,000 displaced. The team explained how the district administration apprised them that there were no clear instructions coming in from Lucknow, the state headquarters which is usually the norm in such serious situations. “The young DM who was recently brought in did not have an idea as to what is to be done, which way to start,” Mustafa said. Many believe that it is enough evidence to show that the Samajwadi party government did not want to contain the riots. The way both the Muslims and the Jaats were allowed to hold gatherings and Mahapanchayats and deliver inflammatory speeches, including the massive Jaat Mahapanchayat on September 7 which resulted in violence demonstrates the way the administration was looking the other way as hell broke loose. “On September 7, even though prohibitory orders were in place, but they were for others. Nobody going for the Mahapanchayat was stopped,” a local told Hardnews.
The members of the team slammed the UP government for its “inability and incompetence, and for reacting in the worst manner possible.” “The incident in Kawal village on August 27 was a localized incident that could have been contained by a strong dose of political statesmanship. Instead of stepping up with what was required, the UP state government signalled indecision, ineptitude, or even worse- possibly a degree of collusion with the forces of disorder.”
The report prepared by the six member team says that the riots took place because of “state failure and political cynicism.” It also said that “Muslims were not attacked so much with the intent of causing deaths, but with the object of chasing them out of the Hindu majority villages, and cleanse certain villages of the Muslim presence.” The report also mentioned the failure of police in controlling the situation. “Even though a number of complaints and FIR’s had been registered, there seemed no attempt to arrest the perpetrators of killing and violent expulsion of Muslims.” There have been several FIRs against BJP leaders who were present at the Mahapanchayat and made inflammatory speeches. No attempt has been made to arrest them. One of the BJP legislators Sangeet Som is also said to be responsible for the spread of a morphed video clip, which is said to be one of the main reasons for the riot. Likewise, local BSP MP Kadir Rana has also gone underground and there has been no serious attempt to arrest him.