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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

‘Amravati violence was planned; there was carelessness on part of officers’

In an interview with The Indian Express, Yashomati Thakur termed the happenings in Amravati “intelligence failure”, adding the situation in the district is peaceful now.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
Updated: November 20, 2021 7:50:05 am
Amravati violence, Yashomati Thakur, Amravati curfew, Amravati violence, Security forces, Amravati news, Maharashtra news, indian express newsSecurity forces in Amravati on Saturday. (Express file photo)

In the wake of the violence that rocked Amravati last week, Women and Child Welfare minister Yashomati Thakur, who is also the guardian minister for the district in Vidarbha, said that a report of the Cyber Crimes Cell of the Mumbai Police shows that the violence was planned. In an interview with The Indian Express, the senior Congress leader termed the happenings in Amravati “intelligence failure”, adding the situation in the district is peaceful now. Excerpts:

What is the situation in Amravati now?

Amravati is pretty peaceful now and getting back to routine. This is the only aim we have. Curfew will continue only at night now.

There haven’t been any communal incidents in Amravati for more than 30 years. So, what happened this time?

We are (living) here in a secular atmosphere. Amravati is the karmabhoomi of Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj and the birth place of Gadge Maharaj and also the place to which Panjabrao Deshmukh belongs. This incident has been very shocking and surprising. As per the report of Cyber Crimes Cell, fanatics from both sides created this (violence). Routine life was disrupted and the common man had to suffer. It is a great loss for my city and district. The violence was planned. There was a plan to set Maharashtra on fire and this is what the cyber report is saying.

You have spoken about how attempts were being made through social media to trigger large-scale violence.

I don’t want to blame anyone but we all know who benefits from polarisation.

Are people angry with the government for such a long curfew and internet ban? Was it necessary to have these measures for so many days?

People are angry with those who planted the trouble. Why should people be angry with the government for maintaining peace and order? We could see carelessness of some officers and people who took law in their hands and both will be punished.

Why did the curfew and internet ban have to continue for so many days?

Internet ban was needed as there were too many provocative messages. Extending it was just being extra-cautious. Whatever steps were taken, were taken with the intention to maintain peace.

What do you mean by carelessness of officers?

There is carelessness: How could a crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 come out without police knowledge? If the SID (State Intelligence Department) had given information, police would have taken charge. I told the Deputy Commissioners of Police in Amravati to detain people, and I don’t know why they didn’t do it. All this could have been avoided. Had the intelligence (department) alerted (the government), (the violence) could have been avoided.

Have you brought this to the notice of the top officials of the police and the government?

Of course, yes. It was an intelligence failure. The senior officers and second line officers should have taken care. CM had gone (for a surgical procedure). I told his office (about the developments in Amravati). I told the deputy chief minister, home minister, leaders of Congress and Shiv Sena. I am not interested in complaining, but truth has to be told.

Some Shiv Sena leaders also participated in the bandh morcha called by the BJP. You are allies in the government. Have you spoken to them or the Sena leadership about this?

Sanjay Raut (Sena MP) rightly said that (protest) and expression is anyone’s right. But the BJP made it violent, which is not constitutional. Sena is with us. People who were doing wrong have been given a warning and anyone who takes law in their hands will be punished.

Did you speak to leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and others in the BJP?

On November 13, when fiery speeches were made by BJP (leaders), I spoke to Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis and asked why my city was set on fire. The collector and police commissioner were not in town. I was in collector’s control room and made at least 250 calls appealing for peace. It takes a long time to build an area and does not take much to damage it. Setting aside my protocol, I spoke to everyone — people from the BJP, the MVA and even local leaders.

What are the efforts being taken to ensure that such an incident does not happen again?

Amravati residents do not have fear in their minds. All precautions will be taken.

What about economic loss and government plans for compensation?

Revenue department is working on this and it will soon be provided.

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