What actually happened:
The issue of holding a ‘mahapanchayat' took a violent turn on Friday when UP Police briefly detained BJP leaders, including four MPs and an MLA following which party supporters clashed with the police. The BJP leaders; Amroha MP Kanwar Singh Tanwar, Rampur MP Nepal Singh and Sambhal MP Satyal Saini, along with Sardhana legislator Sangeet Som were headed to the village from where the loudspeaker had been removed. The ‘mahapanchayat' was called by the State BJP in defiance of the State order over removal of loudspeaker from a temple, which led to communal tension in the area.
On June 26, Moradabad district administration had removed a loudspeaker from a temple in Akbarpur Chendri Nayagaon village after complaints that there was no tradition of a loudspeaker at the temple and that it was placed by Moradabad BJP MP. The move was protested by Hindu groups in the area and thereafter clashes broke out.
BJP had called for a mahapanchayat alleging that the loudspeaker was removed at the behest of local MLA Rahman.
As many as 65 people have been arrested by the police for stone-pelting, firing and blocking the Moradabad-Saharanpur railway track.
Is the issue being politicised?
The recent face-off between the BJP and the SP Government is the latest in a string of violent incidents. Both parties are accusing each other of promoting communal tension. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said the BJP is promoting tension on purpose in the State for its benefit. While the BJP leaders are saying that they wanted to discuss the issue peacefully but the State Government had decided to instigate the party workers by denying mahapanchayat.
SP and BJP are accusing each other of promoting communal tension
Earlier too, the two parties engaged in mud-smuggling over the Muzaffarnagar riots where both parties accused each other of instigating the violence. The SP Government might have drawn criticism for its casual approach during Muzaffarnagar riots but this time role of BJP in instigating communal sentiments in Moradabad cannot be ruled out. Several questions like, "What BJP MLA Sangeet Som, accused of Muzaffarnagar riots, doing at disputed site?", "What was motive behind mahapanchayat? Why the loudspeaker which are claimed to be there for 40 years, were replaced now?" are pointing to the intentions of BJP.
At the same time, instead of engaging in verbal fight with BJP, the Akhilesh Government should keep a close watch on the ongoing situation in the area and prevent a repeat of Muzaffarnagar-like episode which killed 69 people and rendered over 50,000 homeless. The Akhilesh Government which is under attack for failing to tackle rising crime in the State, could not show casual approach on the issue.