Muzaffarnagar Riots Report Sparks Political Blame Game Before It Goes Public

24/09/2015 1:31 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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MUZAFFARNAGAR, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 9: A boy form Shahjahapur Injured and admitted at district hospital after communal clash on September 9, 2013 in Muzaffarnagar, India. Violence broke out Saturday afternoon after thousands of Hindu farmers held a meeting in Kawal village to demand justice in the August 27 killing of three men who had spoken out when a woman was being verbally harassed. Hundreds of troops have been dispatched to India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh after 28 people were killed in a weekend of communal violence. On Saturday nine people, including a reporter of a TV news channel, were killed and 34 were injured. (Photo by Sunil Saxena/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Even before its findings have been made public, a blame game over a report on the Muzaffarnagar riots in September, 2013, escalated on Thursday, revealing how the deadly religious violence is measured in terms of political gains and losses in Uttar Pradesh.

Two years after the communal violence, which claimed the lives of at least 60 people and displaced over 50,000 in western Uttar Pradesh, Justice Vishnu Sahai, a retired Allahabad High Court judge, submitted his 775-page report to the U.P. Governor Ram Naik on Wednesday, who will forward it to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to take action.

Sahai, who recorded the statements of 478 people, which included 101 officials, told Times Now that his investigation pursued four tracks: causes of riots, who was responsible, response of authorities, and measure riots to stop reoccurrence.

Citing sources, new channels reported that the Muzaffarnagar riots-report has indicted leaders of the ruling Samajwadi Party in U.P., and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which its rivals accuse of gaining from the religious polarisation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

The SP-government was severely criticised for failing to prevent the riots, especially since religious tensions were simmering for at least a week before the violence engulfed the countryside.

Observers say that political calculations over the tragedy will be made keeping in mind the U.P. state elections in 2017.

Refusing to disclose details, Sahai said "There were some politicians," and added that the role of the administration has been "examined in detail."

Rejecting the report, BJP lawmaker Sangeet Som, who is accused of uploading a video which reportedly sparked communal tension in the district, said that he was not questioned in the probe.

"Did the Commission of Inquiry make us part of probe in any way? Did they take our inputs?" he told ANI. "I completely reject this report, I don't think it is of any significance."

In August, last year, Som was given Z+ security cover, just one level below union ministers and Chief Ministers, by the Modi government.

Gaurav Bhatia, spokesperson for the Samajwadi Party, said that the BJP "would definitely reward persons who are accused, charge-sheeted and facing trials in Muzaffarnagar riots."

"Heard BJP leaders speak on report. I’d not be surprised if they reward those leaders like they rewarded Sangeet Som," he told ANI.

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the Muzaffarnagar riots, has completed the investigation of 503 out of the 510 cases, PTI reported earlier this month, and over 1,481 people have been arrested.

One of the pending cases is against Som, Vinod Kuamr Pandey, a senior police official, told reporters on September 7, and the SIT has sought a report on the video from Facebook in the United States.

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