A five-member probe panel has questioned the role of a BJP MP while blaming “administrative lapses” for last month’s communal violence in Saharanpur which had left three persons dead and several injured.
Saharanpur Nagar is among 11 assembly constituencies where bypolls will be held on September 13, barely one-and-half-month after the communal violence on July 26.
“The report has been submitted by the committee to the chief minister in which a BJP MP has also been named besides laxity of administrative officers,” Samajwadi Party’s (SP) national general secretary Naresh Agarwal said.
The probe panel headed by Uttar Pradesh minister Shivpal Yadav was constituted by SP state president and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The BJP quickly dismissed the panel’s findings saying it was a report of the ruling SP and not the government’s.
Agarwal said the report has recommended action against some officers for their laxity in controlling the violence.
Sources said quoting the report that local BJP MP Raghav Lakhan allegedly provoked rioters which led to attempts to torch shops.
Muslims and Sikhs and engaged in violent clashes in the Kutubsher area of Saharanpur on July 26 for several hours over a land dispute. The violence had claimed three lives and left more than 20 people injured.
Curfew was clamped in the township following the violence and the subsequent Eid celebrations were also muted.
“As role of a BJP MP has also come to the fore, we can say that the party (BJP) has a role in the Saharanpur incident,” the SP leader added.
The report also alleged that the administration became active only after the violence broke out.
As the holy month of Ramzan was on, the administration should not have allowed any construction at the disputed site or members of opposite community to assemble, the report said.
Political reactions to the report were dismissive and of indignation.
“It’s an irony that the perpetrators of the Saharanpur riots are trying to be the judge. We reject the report,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
Another BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak also questioned the panel’s findings saying how it could blame both the administration and an individual (the BJP MP) at the same time.
“When there is an administrative failure then how is the BJP responsible for the clashes?” he asked.
Pathak dismissed the report, saying the SP was indulging in a blame-game to take political mileage.
“It is report of the party and not the government. What do you expect from SP which had been blaming the BJP time and again to conceal its own government’s failure,” Pathak alleged.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said he would not comment as it was a “report of a political party” and he had not seen it.
The SP’s archrival BSP also rejected the report.
BSP chief Mayawati said the “actual facts” are buried and the report has little meaning.
“The BJP and SP are hand-in-glove. The report has not put forth the actual facts. It has little meaning. We do not accept the report,” she said.
Other parties too panned the report saying that the ultimate accountability lied with the state government.
“The UP government may say it’s the local administration’s fault, but the ultimate accountability is of the state government,” said Akhilesh Pratap of the Congress.