Intelligence failure led to Muzaffarnagar riots: Judicial panel

PTI9_8_2013_000153B (File) Police team patrol during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh

The one-man commission of Justice (retd) Vishnu Sahai that probed the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots has said intelligence failure and laxity on the part of two senior police officials led to the violence that left 62 people dead.

The 700-page report tabled in the state Assembly today said the riots, following the murder of two persons by a youth from a minority community in Kawal town on August 27, 2013, took place as the then inspector of intelligence unit Prabal Pratap Singh failed to give an exact number of people going to attend a mahapanchayat at Mandaur.

The proceedings of the mahapanchayat were not recorded and there was laxity on the part of the then SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey due to which violence spread to Saharanpur, Shamli, Baghpat and Meerut, it said.

The commission sought to know from the then D.M. Kaushal Raj Sharma as to what law and order arrangements had been made in the wake of the mahapanchayat and why it was not videographed. It also said transfer of the then D.M. Surendra Singh, who was replaced by Sharma, and SSP Manjil Saini before the riots led to resentment among members of the Jat community.

Besides, the release of 14 people arrested in connection with the Kawal incident gave a message that the government was favouring a specific community.

A video on social media showing some people being beaten up in a Taliban-held area was falsely related with the Kawal incident. Inflammatory speeches by leaders of both the communities were among the major reasons behind the riots, it said.

Referring to a case registered against BJP MLA Sangeet Som and 229 others for uploading an objectionable video on Youtube, the commission said it was of of the view that under Article 20(2) of the Constitution no other penal action could be taken against them.

Similarly, a penal action could not be taken against the then MP Qadir Rana and others for using objectionable language at Fakkarshah crossing on August 30, 2013, it said.

The commission also said the media exaggerated the reports regarding the violence and spread rumours.

Though the report did not mention anything against the Akhilesh Yadav government, leaders of opposition parties said the chief minister could not escape the blame as he was the head of the bucreaucray and law and order was a state subject.

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