18 September 2013
Shri. Akhilesh Yadav
Hon’ble Chief Minister of U.P.
Sub: Justice to Muzaffarnagar riot victims – Submission in the light of visit by Popular Front delegation in refugee villages.
We would like to plead the following for your kind attention and immediate follow-up steps in order to render justice to the innocent victims of recent communal riots in the Muzaffarnagar district of U. P. Our submission is based, in addition to news reports, on the first hand information gathered from victims during our visit of refugee villages on 16th of this month.
The communal violence in Muzaffarnagar district and adjoining areas since 27 August 2013 is the worst of its kind in recent times in Uttar Pradesh. Though the number of deaths officially acknowledged now is below 50, it is feared that the actual deaths will be many times more, given the fact that whereabouts of hundreds of missing persons still remain unknown. Thousands of houses have been looted and burnt in the riots that affected more than 60 villages. More than 70,000 people belonging to Muslim community have fled their villages as communally frenzied mobs attacked them.
If the Jat Mahapanchayat that incited thousands of its armed attendees to attack Muslim villages were prevented by the police, the large scale violence that followed could have been averted. The state police and district administration have not only failed to stop rioters, but there are many reports of the police personnel colluding with their community members in attacking and driving away Muslims.
This is the first time in U. P. that rural areas too have been targeted and Gujarat-like riots have been attempted to uproot and marginalise Muslims. The modus operandi of the rioters in much way resembles the pattern of Gujarat 2002 genocide engineered by Narendra Modi government. The migration of people from minority community to safer places has a comparison with the last year Bodo assaults on Muslims in Assam on much larger scale.
Though incidents such as eve teasing and scuffle between motor cycle riders are cited as immediate provocations, grounds for wide spread riots were being set by communal fascist forces since many months in the form of continuing communal propaganda and big and small violence in different parts of U. P. It is reported that more than 100 communal flares up have taken place during the present state government. The RSS and its outfits had been working to raise communally sensitive issues and create tensions. The slogans like “We will make U.P a Gujarat” were being aired in the state for some time. The spat of communal violence in U.P. can also be viewed as part of a larger game plan of BJP to polarise Hindu votes with an eye on forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Also it is possible that political opponents of the present state government are acting for a breakdown of law and order situation through their agents in police and administration.
We submit that the following actions have to be taken immediately for bringing justice to the victims and for preventing similar incidents in future.
Though the police claim that cases have been filed against perpetrators of violence including Jat community and political party leaders, most of them still roam free without being arrested so far. All of them have to be arrested immediately.
Those who acted behind circulating bogus video clippings that exhorted Hindus to attack Muslims are to be brought to justice.
Fix the role played by Jat Mahapanchayat in instigating violence and prosecute its organizers and speakers who provoked the masses.
Stern punitive action including immediate suspension, has to be taken against the officials who were found to be negligent of their duty and failed to discharge their administrative as well as law and order responsibility. Mere transfer is not a remedy.
The quick return of the refugees to their villages is necessary because past experience of Gujarat and Assam shows that if uprooted persons do not return quickly to their homes and villages, their properties and agricultural lands will permanently occupied by others. All refugees who were ousted out of their villages must be rehabilitated back to their own homes with adequate protection.
At present the refugees are at the mercy of Muslims mohallas where they are sheltered. The government administration should take up their responsibility till their permanent resettlement in their own village home.
The compensation declared by the Chief Minister has to reach all eligible victims. This should not be implemented based upon the reports of the administration alone, but to be done in liaison with local community organisations and leaders who are taking care of the refugees.
Government should rebuild or repair all the houses demolished and damaged by the rioters before handing over to the owners.
Take urgent steps to locate the people who are reported to be missing from various villages.
Institute special courts for fair and speedy trial of all riot related cases.
Constitute special investigation teams to look into complaints of rape and assaults on women.
The occurrences of hate speeches from any side must be stopped.
Adequate police protection has to be provided to all Muslim localities which are under the threat of further attacks by communal elements.
Establish peace committees representing all communities for the return of normalcy in each village and for preventing such occurrences in future.
As an immediate administrative measure and part of a long-term plan, make the police and administration adequately represented by all communities, by starting special recruitments for under-represented communities like Muslims.
K. M. Shareef