7 major communal violence incidents under Akhilesh’s regime

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Stone pelters in action during the clashes. (PTI photo)
In March 2012, Akhilesh Yadav became the youngest chief minister of India after trouncing Bahujan Samajwadi Party's supremo Mayawati in UP Assembly Elections. But ever since the Samajwadi Party came to power it seems that the man in the hot seat is star crossed as the communal violence has been on the rise under his (Akhilesh Yadav) rule.

The Ministry of Home Affairs released data on communal violence in February this year and revealed that a steep 30 per cent rise in the number of communal violence incidents took place as compared to 2012. The data also revealed that the worst-hit state was Uttar Pradesh as it recorded 247 incidents in 2013 as compared to 118 in 2012.

Here are few major communal violence clashes which took place under the Akhilesh's regime:

FAIZABAD, 2012

Since SP Govt came to power in UP, 14 major communal clashes have occurred

Some idols of Durga were stolen from a local temple, after which people formed a committee to and protested against the district police for failing to recover the original idols which were stolen nearly two months ago. On the day of the immersion of Durga idols following Durga Puja, the district was rocked by communal violence. Property worth crores was gutted and the Government transferred the DM and SSP and offered compensation to shopkeepers whose shops were looted and burnt.

GHAZIABAD, 2012

Seven Muslim youth were killed in the police action after an unruly mob attacked the Masuri police station in Ghaziabad. The mob was protesting against the alleged desecration of the holy Quran after the torn pages of the book were recovered from a nearby railway track. The locals wanted the police to take action, but the police ignored their demand, which infuriated them. Following the incident, the government announced compensation for the families of the dead.

BAREILLY, 2012

Riots broke out on the streets of communally sensitive Bareilly on the first day of fasting during the holy month of Ramzan on 22 July. Some Muslims objected to the loud music played by kanwariyas in front of the mosque where they were offering prayers after the day-long fast. The police was taken off guard as the clashes broke out simultaneously at ten places in Bareilly city. Three people were killed in the riots. Few days later a religious procession of the Hindu community was attacked and fired upon. Over 100 people were arrested, but were later bailed out.

ASTHAN, PRATAPGARH DISTRICT, 2012

Violence erupted in Asthan, a Muslim dominated village in UP, after a girl of the Dalit community was allegedly gangraped. Close to four dozen houses of the minority weaver community were looted and torched. Those accused of the rape were arrested and sent to jail. As per reports, a former UP minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiya was allegedly behind the violence. The cases against the arson and rape-accused are pending in the district court.

MUZAFFARNAGAR RIOTS, 2013

A girl from the Hindu Jat community was allegedly harassed in an eve-teasing incident by one Muslim youth in Kawal village of UP. In retaliation, Hindu relatives of the girl in question, Sachin Singh and Gaurav Singh, killed the youth named Shahnawaz Qureshi. The two brothers were lynched by a Muslim mob when they tried to escape. The police arrested eleven members of the girl's family for killing the Muslim youth. According to some locals, the police did not act against the killers of the Hindu brothers. The police records told a different story, Gaurav and Sachin picked a fight with Shahnawaz over a motorcycle accident. While it has been widely reported that the fight was sparked off when Shahnawaz harassed Gaurav and Sachin's cousin sister, the FIR in the murder case made no mention of sexual harassment or molestation. Nearly 63 people were killed and more than 50,000 became homeless due to these riots.

MORADABAD VIOLENCE, 2014

The issue of holding of a 'mahapanchayat' in Kanth area on July 4 turned into a violent protest, during which BJP leaders including four MPs, and an MLA who was accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots were briefly detained.

The 'Mahapanchayat' or gathering was called by the state BJP in defiance of the state order, after a recent dispute in Kanth, over removal of a loudspeaker from a temple, which led to communal tension in the area. District Magistrate Chandra Kant too sustained serious injury in his eye during the violent protest. The matter hasn't been resolved till date and heavy police force is deployed on the ground zero.

SAHARANPUR RIOTS, 2014

Violent clashes erupted in Saharanpur early Saturday morning killing three men and injuring over 24 others when two groups clashed over a patch of disputed land adjoining a gurdwara close to the city's railway station.

Rioting began when a group of people gathered outside the gurdwara and started pelting stones. Several shops were belonging to Sikhs were looted and burnt. "It was around 6 am that the rioters first began the assault and started looting shops in the market," said Balbir Singh Dheer, the gurdwara pradhan. "It seemed well-planned." While one group claimed the disputed land belonged to the Wakf Board, the other insisted it had purchased it 15 years ago and has the papers to show for it.

Soon the violence that went on unabated for the next four hours took the shape of a massive riot that engulfed the entire city. By afternoon large parts of the city were covered in smoke coming from the shops and vehicles that were burnt by angry mobs.

The SP government has been many a times accused of deliberately turning a blind eye to what was happening in the state. Whenever such cases of violence took place, some transfers were done and some compensation was announced for the victims, but nothing has been to improve the law and order situation in the state. Thus, these incidents of communal violence which are said to vitiate the atmosphere for political gains, needs to be checked immediately.

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