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UP police failed to prevent recent communal riots : CHRI
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) strongly condemns the failure of Uttar Pradesh police to take the needed and timely action to prevent the recent communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, which has left more than 40,000 people displaced within a span of few days.

Reacting to credible reports by civil society and a leading TV channel, where the police reportedly stated that they were forced to set free eight people who were detained for fomenting communal violence ostensibly on orders from the top. CHRI believes it is high time that the police functioning is properly separated from undue and illegitimate political control.

Maja Daruwala, Director CHRI said, “How many more people must be killed before you start separating the police from politics and politicians?  This is riots for votes. It is disgraceful. This will continue until we make sure politicians cannot interfere illegitimately with everyday policing. The violence in Muzaffarnagar is a complete replica of so many of the riots that are destroying our centuries old social fabric including the Delhi riots of 1984 and the Gujarat riots of 2002. The same old excuses are trotted out. This has to stop”.

Under these circumstances, CHRI believes that the Uttar Pradesh Government and the Director General of Police has much to answer for the state’s wholly insufficient approach to the violence. The law is clear that no one and certainly not the police is ever called for, to obey illegal orders. The officer who dons the Khaki uniform owes his allegiance only to the law.  The first duty is to protect the lives, properties and rights of people.

Police personnel who have hesitated in doing this because they have ‘orders from above’, have no excuse to hide. The police inaction during the tragic events in Muzaffarnagar indicts the UP administration and the police leadership in the highest terms for total failure to respond to a situation, where lives were at stake.

The dangerous relationship between the police and politician cannot be allowed to continue. Six years ago the Supreme Court directed UP amongst other states to put in place systems that would make police operationally responsible, insulated from wrongful interference and orders, well managed, and accountable. UP has chosen to ignore these directions and the result – the deaths of small children, the displacement of women and separation of families making them refugees in their own land – is there for all to see.

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