The Muzaffarnagar riots were a big blot on the erstwhile SP government. The flash point had not only exposed loopholes in their handling of law and order but some of the decisions taken by them post the mayhem were undoubtedly controversial. It’s reported that the Yogi administration is now planning to withdraw 131 cases pertaining to the Muzaffarnagar riots, and has initiated a process for the same. The opposition was quick to condemn and criticize this action, but it’s imperative to have an unbiased perspective to understand the matter.
The decision to initiate the withdrawal of cases was recently taken after a delegation of leaders met CM Yogi. BJP MP Sanjiv Balyan and the party’s Budhana MLA Umesh Malik led the delegation which requested the CM to look thoroughly into this matter. After the meeting, UP’s Law department sent letters to the district magistrates of the regions concerned seeking details of those 131 cases including their current status.
The mainstream media is quick to label the alleged suspects as killers and may criticize the Yogi government for this move. Firstly, it’s important to note that in the past we have seen the so-called secular governments mishandling many issues. And when it comes to parties such as SP, chances of mishandling things seem high. These were allegedly used by the Akhilesh govt to settle political scores, push its appeasement policies and divert attention from its governance failures. Many believe that the erstwhile SP government may have falsely framed charges against some innocent Hindus in a bid to politicize the issue and appease the minority. Speculations were rife about the same, and we have seen incidences where people have been falsely implicated to further an agenda. The coining of Hindu terror was done by the UPA as a politically-correct response to the threat of rising Islamic terror, and it’s now proven that all these cases were fabricated to manufacture a brand of terror for political gains.
Interestingly, news channel Headlines Today (India Today) had carried a sting operation against erstwhile UP cabinet minister Azam Khan, where he had allegedly ordered the release of Muslims involved or accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots. The minister had expectedly denied these allegations, but it had symbolized the dubious nature of investigations into this matter. Importantly, the justice Vishnu Sahai inquiry commission report has listed the reasons for the Muzaffarnagar riots after deaths of three young men Shanawaz, Gaurav and Sachin in Kamal village of Muzaffarnagar on 2013. The report also had added that the release of 14 Muslim youth, not named in the FIR relating to the murders of Gaurav and Sachin, was seen as an attempt by the state government to appease the minority community.
Secondly, documentaries and other alternative parallel investigations have been made into the Muzaffarnagar riots. ‘Muzaffarnagar, Akhir kyon?’ made by journalist Vivek Sinha was screened at the prestigious Woodpecker documentary film festival. The documentary basically tried to find the reasons for the riots and highlighted systemic apathy and the then UP government’s ineffectiveness in stopping the riots. In fact, it shows how the then state government had used the Muzaffarnagar riots to polarize, and it speaks about how innocent Hindu youths might have been framed in this process. Looking at the track record of the SP government, it’s quite obvious that a fresh investigation is necessary and the withdrawal of cases may be seen as a step in this direction.
One of the reasons for the BJP coming to power in UP was the anger among people against the Akhilesh govt with respect to the way they tried to politicize these riots. CM Yogi has taken certain bold decisions to restore law and order and his one-year stint has seen strict measures against miscreants and the mafia. Perhaps, the fairness which is evident in dealing with other issues now needs to be emulated even in these riot cases. Even if the media is hellbent upon calling the withdrawal of these cases as a protection for rioters, CM Yogi may have simply taken a tough unbiased stand.
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