Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Saharanpur riots: Panel blames officials, names local BJP MP

Express News Service | Lucknow | Posted: August 18, 2014 12:13 am

The fact finding committee set up to probe communal violence at Saharanpur has blamed officials of district administration and police for laxity and local BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal for inciting the riots. The committee, headed by senior UP minister Shivpal Yadav, submitted its report to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The report categorically blamed Additional District Magistrate and Additional SP of Saharanpur for their laxity which resulted in communal riots that claimed three lives.

“These officials did not play their roles properly. If the administration would have been alert, the incident could have been averted,” a member of the committee told The Indian Express.

The report also blamed BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal for instigating the riots. “Raghav Lakhanpal moved in the city along with his supporters and shops of Muslims were targeted. We have reports that 99 shops of Muslims were torched. Most of them were poor persons like tailors and mechanics,” said Ashu Malik, a member of the committee. He also said that Muslims in the area had protected shops of the Sikhs. “In many Muslim areas, none of the Sikh shops were touched, but the BJP MP targeted Muslim shops,” he claimed.

The report also came down heavily on the district administration, mentioning that despite the Ramzan period enough precautions were not taken. The report said that the administration should not have allowed construction at the disputed site. It also stated that both the sides were allowed to hold large gatherings during night and said this underlined the laxity of officials. Proper arrangement was not made to control the mob, the report stated.

The committee comprised ministers Shivpal Yadav, Shivakant Ojha, Arvind Singh Gope and Ashu Malik and district president of SP’s Moradabad unit Haji Iqram Qureshi. The committee, formed by CM Akhilesh Yadav, had visited Sahranpur and met the members of Sikh and Muslim communities.

BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai said the report was politically motivated and deserved to be dumped. He questioned why Cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, who headed the committee, did not mention the name of Moharram Ali alias Pappu who has been arrested by the police as the main accused in the case. Bajpai also questioned if Shivpal had met Ali, who is currently in jail, in the course of the probe.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Hilal Naqvi demanded action against the BJP MP and officials of Saharanpur who have been found guilty as per the report. He claimed the BJP and SP engineered the riots for political gains in the upcoming bypolls through polarisation.

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