Special Correspondent

Police should be particularly alert during religious processions: National Commission for Minorities

‘Local authorities should ensure that processions avoid places of worship’

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has commended the Andhra Pradesh government for promptly containing the communal violence that broke out in Adilabad district last month but noted that the riots could have been averted in the first place if only the police had been a bit more alert.

Referring to the fact that Bhainsa town – the ‘epicentre of communal violence’ from October 10 to 15 – has had a history of communal tensions, the two-member NCM team, which visited the area, noted that the police should have been particularly alert during religious processions in view of this history.

Poor intelligence

After detailing the incidents of communal violence, the NCM members said the inaction of the administration might have been due to the absence of intelligence on events that were clearly planned, particularly as some members of the Hindu Vahini were part of the Durga processions.

About the State government’s intervention, the NCM team said: “Following the outbreak of the violence, the State authorities had acted swiftly and efficiently to ensure return of normality.” In all, 129 persons had been arrested by October 20 – when the team visited the area.

Non-bailable arrests

Significantly, the NCM noted: “Unlike what transpired in the case of communal attacks in other parts of the country, these arrests were non-bailable.” Also, the team was appreciative of the Chief Minister’s decision to call for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Vatoli incident which saw the most serious incident of communal violence in which six members of a family of a minority community were burnt beyond recognition.

Recommendations

As part of its recommendations, the NCM said that intelligence and police officials should monitor the contents of speeches, pamphlets, handbills and slogans of leaders of communal outfits. Also, legal action should be initiated against those inciting communal hatred through such hate speeches and local authorities must ensure that procession routes avoided places of worship.