Saharanpur riots: Why latest report submitted to UP CM couldn’t be believed

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Saharanpur violence(PTI Image)
A committee probing causes of the communal violence in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district, occurred last month, on Sunday submitted its report to the state's Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. But the panel's report has kicked off yet another controversy as it accused local BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal of inciting communal hatred in the area and blamed the local administration for failing to bring the riots under control in the initial stage. This has sparked a political slugfest amongst the parties who are blaming each other.

What raises eyebrows?

As per the committee's report, the local police administration was aware about the tension brewing up in the area but did nothing to prevent riots at the initial stage. But, a pertinent question emerges why was the local administration sleeping? What and whose orders was it waiting for?

One thing that the Samajwadi Party panel forgot to tell is that the police in UP doesn't do anything on its own. In sensitive cases like these, the local administration acts on the orders from higher administration sitting in Lucknow. Not, a single step is taken by lower level officials in such cases they just comply with the orders given to them. The panel's report says local administration's callousness was responsible the riots but there couldn't be too many buyers for this reason.

Hence, by targeting the local administration in its report the panel has targeted the pawns but didn't name those who were sitting at the helm of it all and waited a minor scuffle between two communities to transform into a communal riot. As per local media reports, the police kept waiting for the entire issue to take a communal colour. But, any layman would understand that it was not just local administration's irresponsibility that must be blamed. State's top machinery and the government must also be blamed for waking up late.

The panel has also accused a BJP MP of inciting Saharanpur riots. It has alleged that BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal provoked the rioters which led to attempts to torch shops. But, reports from the ground zero when the riots took place clearly hinted that former Congress MLA Imran Masood was involved in rioting and attempt to murder in connection with violent clashes. Surprisingly, the panel reportedly has made no mention of Masood, who was apparently booked in two cases for the same.

BJP hits back at Samajwadi Party

The BJP has dismissed the report saying it is an attempt by the Samajwadi Party to gain political mileage. Well one cannot deny BJP's charges against the ruling Samajwadi Party's panel. The Samajwadi party is facing a massive credibility crisis in the state for failing to control the deteriorating law and order in the state.

"It is politically motivated. I have been praised for my efforts to end to the violence and restore peace. The government should have thanked me instead of levelling false allegations," the BJP MP told PTI in Saharanpur.

Thus, by shifting the blame over BJP the party can hope to tarnish BJP's image among voters, ahead of state assembly by-polls.

One also doubts the credibility and trustworthiness of the panel because all five members in the panel belong to the same party. Even Home Minister Rajnath Singh doubted the reliability of the UP government's probe if it was conducted by a particular party. Singh told media persons, "I've not seen the report as of now. However, if it is prepared by Samajwadi Party only then I've nothing to say on it."

Hence, there would hardly have been any contradiction on the findings of the members. Generally, such probe panels comprise senior cops, politicians, experts to ensure fair and unbiased reports.

How Saharanpur riots triggered?

Trouble began in Saharanpur district when members of one minority community started construction work in Kutubsher area. Another community objected to it and soon the row turned violent with both sides resorting to pelting stones at each other. Several shops, public vehicles were also burnt down. The administration acted very late and fired rubber bullets to disperse the mob on the rampage. To control the situation additional forces were also deployed from the PAC, RAF, CRPF and ITPB.

Thus, Samajwadi Party-appointed panel's report cannot be considered as completely genuine since it was conducted by the ruling party members and it was not neutral.

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