A day after the Uttar Pradesh government tabled the inquiry report and the action taken report on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, the BJP on Monday slammed it, calling the report an attempt to cover up the state government’s role, and demanded a CBI probe into the violence. Several BJP leaders from the state who were arrested for delivering inflammatory speeches claimed that the commission did not contact them to record their statements.
All four — Muzaffarnagar MP and Union minister Sanjeev Baliyan, MLAs Sangeet Singh Som and Suresh Rana, and Jat leader Virender Singh — were jailed on charges of delivering inflammatory speeches in mahapanchayats in Muzaffarnagar before the riots broke out, leaving 62 people dead.
The report has been prepared by the one-member commission led by Justice Vishnu Sahai (retired).
The mahapanchayats were organised over the death of two local youths from the Jat community — Sachin and Gaurav — who were allegedly lynched soon after the murder of one Shahnawaz in Kawal village on August 27, 2013.
“We dismiss the inquiry report because the commission never bothered to contact us to know the reasons behind the two meetings held over the death of Jat youths. They were not mahapanchyats but condolence meetings,” said Virender Singh, who had organised the first mahapanchayat on August 31, 2013.
A former head of Muzaffarnagar’s Jansath block, Singh was arrested on September 5, 2013, and was in jail for 34 days.
In Delhi, BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said, “The SP government is responsible for the riots — it’s vote-bank politics fuelled the riots. There would have been no violence had it taken effective action against those accused of killing the two (Jat) youths.”
Stressing that the Akhilesh Yadav government should order a CBI probe, Sharma alleged that Azam Khan, senior SP leader and a UP minister, used his influence to get those responsible for the duo’s killing released, which added to the unrest and violence.
“The report has given genuine reasons why the riots broke out but does not explain who asked for the release of the eight people caught after the murders of the Jat youths. It also does not mention on whose direction the officers were transferred,” Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Baliyan said.
Stating that he was never summoned to record his statement, Baliyan said, “The report tabled is an eye-wash.” Arrested on September 4, 2013 in connection with the case registered for the August 31 mahapanchayat, Baliyan was in jail for 24 days.
Another accused arrested in the same case, BJP’s state executive member Umesh Malik also claimed he was not summoned by the commission: “I tried to meet Justice Sahai but the district administration did not allow me.”
Sangeet Som, the MLA from Meerut’s Sardhana constituency, told The Indian Express, “I believe the commission has not recorded the statement of any BJP leader. It never called me.” Som was in jail for two months.
Suresh Rana, the MLA from Thana Bhawan constituency in Shamli, also claimed he received no summons and said, “The report tabled is incomplete because it did not figure who had issued directions to local officers to release the accused caught after the murders in Kawal. Powerful people who were responsible for instigating the riots have been saved by the Commission.”
Rana was accused in both cases of mahapanchayats and remained in jail for 60 days.
Justice Sahai said, “I do not want to talk about the inquiry report as it has not been made public so far…discussion on the report in Assembly is to be held tomorrow.”