Muzaffarnagar riots: Minorities panel seeks report from UP govt

Despite coming under attack from several quarters, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday defended UP Minister Azam Khan, saying he had no role to play in the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Zee Media Bureau

Lucknow: National Commission for Minorities (NCM) team headed by its Chairperson Wajahat Habibullah arrived in Muzaffarnagar on Thursday to take stock of the situation there.

Speaking to reporters shortly after his arrival, the NCM chief expressed concerns that communal tension is on the rise across India.

When asked if the NCM has let down the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Wajahat said, "If such an incident happens it is obviously a failure of the administration and as a result that of the state and Centre."

"Such things do not happen only in UP. We have had recent communal clashes in Indore, Rajasthan and Mumbai," he added.

The NCM team visit to Muzaffaranagar comes in the wake of allegations that the state government deliberately delayed action to stem riots in the area for political mileage.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today defended UP Minister Azam Khan, saying he had no role to play in the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Talking to reports, a visibly rattled Chief Minister said, "Azam Khan had no role to play in Muzaffarnagar riots. He did not call any police officer and asked them to go slow on rioters."

A visibly rattled Akhilesh Yadav admitted lapses by the state government, saying "we miscalculated number of people who`d come for mahapanchayat."

However, the chief minister categorically blamed the BJP for inciting valence.

"BJP fuelled Muzaffarnagar violence," he said.

The young chief minister also announced special pension for the riot victims while assuring full government help.

The state government is yet to arrest several politicians and community leaders against whom a local court yesterday issued non-bailable warrants for inciting violence in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district.

Amidst the ongoing blame game, state`s Additional Director General Police Arun Kumar today proceeded on leave. He had reportedly written a letter to the Akhilesh government seeking transfer from the state.

In the letter, which came as a major embarrassment to the UP government, Arun Kumar had expressed his unwillingness to work in UP and has sought a central deputation.

He was leading the probe into the Muzaffarnagar violence. Over 40 people died and thousands have been displaced in the riots.

Arun Kumar is said to upset for not being given a free hand in probing the case.

The letter came a day after sting operations done by several TV news channels claimed that the UP government deliberately delayed action to stem riots in Muzaffarnagar and surrounding areas.

The reports also claimed that UP Minister Azam Khan had allegedly asked the policemen to go slow on the rioters, something which he categorically denied later.
Amidst high drama in front of the State Assembly on Wednesday, Uma Bharti led her party workers in protest against the possible arrest of BJP leaders, Sangeet Som and others.

A large posse of police was deployed in front of the Vidhan Sabha.

Uma dared the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP to arrest the BJP leaders and threatened of consequences if any such move was made. She also accused the Akhilesh Yadav government of targeting a particular party.

The Opposition has charged the state government for protecting its members, who are accused of inciting violence in the riots-hit areas.

The Muzaffarnagar Chief Judicial Magistrate issued 20 non-bailable warrants against several Uttar Pradesh politicians for allegedly inciting violence through inflammatory speeches that took more than 40 lives in the district and adjoining areas.
These include BSP MP Qadir Rana, BJP MLAs Sangeet Som and Bhartendu Singh, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem and Maulana Jameel, Congress leader Saeeduzaman and BKU chief Naresh Tikait among others.

Politicians and the community leaders are wanted for violating prohibitory orders and provoking communal tension by inflammatory speeches in different meetings (mahapanchayats) in the district.

Communal violence had flared up in Muzaffarnagar after two brothers of a girl allegedly killed her stalker Shahnawaz on August 27 in Kawaal village. A little later, the girl’s brothers Gaurav and Sachin were also killed. This led to trouble in the entire district.

With Agency inputs

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