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An investigation into Muzaffarnagar riots: A glimpse of unholy nexus between political parties
Under the banner of Janvadi Adhikar Manch, a four member investigation team, led by Prof. SC Tyagi, comprising Prof. Chandrashekhar, Prof. Mohd Nafiz and Prof. Raghuvansh Tyagi visited various affected villages of Muzaffarnagar on Sept 11 and 12, 2013 to investigate the possible reasons of the riots. The team has reached to their conclusions on the basis of various reports in newspapers and confirmation from what the people informed the team.

The team visited Khalapar in Muzaffarnagar city and villages Sarai Rasoolpur, Sisauli , Jimana, Morbukka, Dinkarpur, Nirmana, Barla, Sonjini, etc. It talked to the village pradhans and other residents of these villages and to Naresh Tikait, President of Bhartiye Kisan Union.

1. That Sayyad dominated village Kawal and its Jat dominated hamlet Malikpura have been traditionally communally peaceful villages with no previous incident of clashes. The incident relating to August 27 was passionately reported by a large number of persons as relating to eve teasing in which a hindu girl was eve teased by a muslim boy who was killed by her brothers and the brothers were lynched by a crowd.

There were also several reports of the incident being related to a motorcycle accident only. The team could not talk to any of the affected families to know the truth. The story of eve teasing was not only widely and passionately propagated, a false video tape was also played out on U-tube. Hindu communal forces played a very active role in using this incident to propagate anti-muslim feelings, specially amongst the Jat community.

2. That while section 144 was imposed in the area and Muzaffarnagar city, meetings with religious mobilizations of Hindus and Muslims were permitted to be held by the administration. On 30.08.2013 a prayer meeting of muslims was addressed by BSP MP Kadir Rana, MLA Mohd Jamil Haji, ex MP of Congress Sayed ul Zama and Rashid Siddiqui.

The SSP and DM of Muzaffarnagar came to this meeting and received a memorandum. A video recording shows leaders of Samajwadi Party, Congress and BSP giving aggressive action plans against the Jats in a muslim congregation. There is no report of any open meeting of muslims after this.

3. Several condolence meetings for the two dead Hindu boys were held in the area from August 31st itself. Those meetings were addressed by leaders of several parties having stake in Jat politics including the BJP, Congress, BKU, RLD and BSP. In all meetings these people were made to take oath of 'the fight for justice'.

They were addressed by ex Congress MP Ch. Harendra Malik, ex minister Yograj Singh, National president of Jat Reservation Committee Yashpal Malik, Secy of Tisang Bhawna Manch Ch. Udham Singh and they also addressed the Mahapanchayat of Sept 7.

BJP organized a Muzaffarnagar bandh on Sept 5 and several preparatory meetings for this were permitted. All shutters were closed mainly due to fear. BJP also organized a dharam sansad in Devikund of Deoband. This was banned late in the night, but the ban was not propagated. People were allowed to gather and later permission was given to hold a Maha Yagya in Mahakaleshwar Gyan Mandir.

4. A massive 'Save Bahu Beti Samman Mahapanchayat' was called for Sept 7 in Nangla Mandaur, the place where the two Hindu boys studied. Appeal for this was issued by several leaders who gave inflamatory anti muslim speeches. Apart from the above mentioned names the others include Ch. Hukum Singh(BJP), Sangeet Som(BJP MLA from Sardhana), BKU President Naresh Tikait, spokesperson, Rakesh Tikait, Surendra Singh of Deshkhap, President of Gathwala Khap of Jats Baba Harikishan Malik, and others.

Mobilization was done through public meetings in several villages of Muzaffarnagar i.e. Bijnor, Shamli, Meerut, Baghpat and others. From Bijnor district BJP MLAs Lokendra Singh Chauhan of Noorpur and Bhartendu Singh of Sadar and Lok Dal MLA Swami Omved freely rallyed people through the Ganga barrage which is the only road route. Last minute bans were imposed but deliberately not implemented in order to give confidence to the communal elements.

5. BKU leader Rakesh Tikait has been close to the BSP since the pro Jat reservation movement in Gajraula during BSP rule in UP and he had also contested once on BJP ticket. When the investigation team met Naresh Tikait and questioned him about his role in this communal mobilization, he said, “We are victims of our simplicity. We both brothers had appealed not to hold the Mahapanchayat, but we were gradually forced to go there'. Incidently Naresh Tikait is furious over the Supreme Court’s ban on Khap panchayats. He said the society had lost control over “our bahu-betis”.

6. We were told by the people that prior to the Mahapanchayat, failure of the police to act led to people making fun of section 144 and mobilize fearlessly. Also its sectarian behaviour on complaints, in the name of following ruling party orders facilitated the forces mobilizing for the Mahapanchayat. Ex IG Avtar Kumar Kaul and several others have openly criticized the state administration for not imposing curfew one day before the Mahapanchayat.

7. The participants in the Mahapanchayat reached in tractor trolleys and buses armed with lathis, stones and other weapons and raising provocative slogans. There were clashes reported from some villages while the rallyists were passing through them while going for the meeting. In Wasikalan basti of Shahpur a woman injured by the rallyists succumbed to her injuries leading to an attack on the trolleys of the rallyists.

After inflamatory speeches in the rally, the situation while returning became extremely volatile. The returning rallyists, raising provocative slogans were attacked at Jauli canal and at Poorbaliyan on Mansoorpur-Shahpur road.

Firing was also reported and there were unconfirmed number of deaths and injured at both places. With this incident large parts of rural Muzaffarnagar and some parts of the adjoining district were subjected to communal violence.

8. What emerged from the violence was 47 deaths confirmed by the state Govt. though people claim several more have died. One report stated that a total of 58 post mortem examinations of bodies relating to the communal violence have been done in Muzaffarnagar Civil Hospital.

It lamented the ghastly nature of violence enacted as done with a very deep sense of hatred with the head of a young child being smashed and the body of a young woman being cut into two. There are no reports of how many persons of which community have died.

9. From Sept 8th onwards minority populations were attacked by the majority in several villages of the area. Though there was free flow of claims of majority of both sides freely attacking the minorities, what has emerged after the incident is that vast majority of the victim who were are muslims. It is absolutely clear that even after the violent incident of September 7, the police force did nothing to stop houses being attacked, ransacked and burnt. The list of affected villages is long.

Conclusion:

1. The incident of August 27, 2013 in village Kawal was deliberately given a communal colour and the sentiment of saving honour of a girl was utilized by Hindu communal forces led by the BJP to attack the muslims. Even if the story is true, it was a question of saving the honour of all girls against anti social feudal elements of all hues. It was deliberately converted into a communal question by the BJP and was well supported by Congress, RLD, BKU and BSP leaders.

2. Communal forces from both the sides i.e. Hindus and Muslims conducted communal meetings. They were freely allowed by the Samajwadi Party (SP) administration. Though meetings of muslims took place on 30th August, the open meetings of Hindu community continued till Sept 7. Though section 144 was in place the administration allowed them to continue.

Despite a sensitive and communally charged situation which led to several senior police officials including DGP Devraj Nagar and others making several visits by helicopter and the district administration being aware, no attempt was made to stop the Mahapanchayat. It appears that the SP administration deliberately wanted this clash to take place.

3. Led by Amit Shah, UP BJP had launced a vicious communal propaganda against Muslims in UP particularly in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Bijnor, Baghpat, Saharanpur of West UP. Like in Gujarat in 2002, they are conducting a malicious disinformation campaign with regard to safety of Hindu women to inflame anti muslim passions and to target them.

Even as the riots have taken a heavy toll several BJP leaders have come out to condemn the rise in what they call ‘love jehad’. The SP govt is not taking any action against such communal propaganda even now.

4. Forty seven people have been accepted by the govt as killed with widespread violence in rural areas. Several thousands have been displaced as they ran to safer places and are in relief camps. Hundreds of dwellings and shops have been destroyed, looted and burnt. Vast majority of the affected people are muslims. The police did nothing to stop this rioting even after the clashes on Sept 7, 2013.

5. Though the govt woke up very late and lodged cases against some BJP and other leaders they all continue to roam free and even attend Vidhan Sabha sessions.

6. This riot highlights the deep penetration of Hindu communal bias and elements in the state administration. They use it to promote pro Hindutwa politics.

7. Though several electronic and print media have exposed the truth, some papers and media have selectively played into the hands of the Hindu communal elements and this needs further investigation and action.

Post Script: Yogi Adityananth's claim during the Faizabad riots is beginning to take shape. He had said “Faizabad shuruaat karega, UP ab Gujarat banega.”

Demands:

1. The Investigation team demands that the appointed judicial commision should fix resposibility on local and state officials for having allowed these riots to take place and also enquire into the increasing bias towards Hindutwa in the administrative functioning. It should suggest ways to ensure secular behaviour by the administration and police.

2. State govt should immediately arrest the MPs and MLAs held responsible for these riots and should register cases of disturbing communal harmony and peace against those propagating allegations of 'love jehad' and send them to jail.

3. All affected persons claims should be registered in an unbiased manner. In every tehsil a special administrative cell should be established to register these complaints immediately.

(The members of  the investigation team are based at UP's Meerut district and are presently college lecturers except Prof. Raghuvansh Tyagi, who had retired sometimes back) 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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