Uttar Pradesh DGP Javeed Ahmed speaks to The Hindu on a range of issues like communalism, Mathura violence and Dadri beef row. The 1984 batch IPS officer was appointed as head of U.P. police in January 2016.
BJP MP Hukum Singh has alleged an exodus of families from Kairana in Western Uttar Pradesh due to communal tensions? What is the reality?
Kairana is a town that got left behind in development path, therefore people started moving to other industrial townships that have come close by like Rohtak, Sonipat and even Delhi. This is a socio-economic demographic change, part of a larger pull that industrial cities and metropolitan cities have. To link it to crime or communal problem would be very incorrect.
What is the authenticity of the list that has been provided by the BJP MP?
Why this list? I would not like to answer. The gentleman is a Member of Parliament and I have nothing to say on this.
Have you checked the veracity of the list?
The Superintendent of Police and District Magistrate have finalised a report in which they have done spot verification on 45 per cent of the list. The verdict is out in the open. It gives a picture that is different from what was portrayed.
Is there a larger attempt to step up communal tensions ahead of elections in U.P. next year?
Elections in India is a very interesting phenomenon. People try every trick in the trade. They go by the Kautilyan adage of saam daam dand bhed (by hook or crook).
But U.P. is a communally sensitive place…
U.P. has its communal hotspot areas. We are determined to see to it that communal elements of whether this community or the other are strongly dealt with. And we are determined to single them out and deal with them with all the force law can provide us.
Have you identified such groups?
At the thana-level (police station) and also at the district level this exercise has been done. Also we are keeping a watch on communal goondas and communal elements that are operating (and) trying to operate and we shall deal with them if they cross the line.
Can you share the numbers of such elements?
I don’t think numbers are important but I can tell you that each of these elements have been identified at the local level and at the district-level. They are very much on our radar.
When was this exercise undertaken?
We did this exercise over the last two-three months because we are getting into election mode and therefore need to keep all our defences ready.
Which are the communally sensitive or vulnerable districts in U.P.?
There are some districts which can be considered more vulnerable than others but that is not important... we have to be careful and alert in all the 75 districts.
Can you name the districts?
Western U.P. continues to be more vulnerable and some districts of eastern U.P. are also there.
Which are the districts in eastern U.P?
Certain districts around Gorakhpur are vulnerable.
Was there a police failure in Mathura, which saw pitched battle between police and members of a cult group on June 2?
Mathura violence was a lapse in assessment, the intent was there. We suffered very serious casualties. To put it in perspective, Mathura is one of the 75 districts. It saw a bout of violence for two-and-a-half hours on the evening of June 2 and thereafter it has been totally under control. People there are satisfied with what we have done. We have learnt lessons, we wouldn’t repeat them.
Was there political interference?
I am not aware of any.
Are you probing any political interference?
There is a judicial commission which is inquiring into the Mathura violence.
There are allegations that SP Mukul Dwivedi was abandoned by policemen and he was beaten to death by the mob?
SP Mukul Dwivedi fell down after he was hit by a brick, then he was apparently belaboured by some of the rioters and obviously some of the police personnel accompanying him did not come to his rescue. These are facts. Why it happened and why they did not come is under inquiry.
Do you think Mathura violence could have been handled better?
In hindsight many things could have been done better. On that day also, after the initial setback, we achieved what we had to. After two-and-a-half hours, we cleared the park.
What is the solution to prevent communal built up before the elections?
The police doesn’t have a solution to this, I think the society has to think about it. We will be happy to be part of it.
Will the police appeal to political parties?
Political parties are mature enough, I don’t want to advise anyone.
Is radicalisation a bigger problem for U.P. or communal tensions?
Radicalisation and communalism both feed into each other. One leads to another. When a communal incident has taken place, we have to see that law is enforced in a fair manner and in a manner that is just and prompt. So that people are not let down by the system or let down by the law and their trust and faith in law process is reinforced.
What is U.P.’s share in the arrests linked to the Islamic State?
There are certain elements who have been known to have been attracted by this ideology. I am sure this ideology will lose its charm as the days pass by, I really wish that Muslim youth will realise that this is not the path of Islam.
How many men would be under the radar?
I would not want to share those details.
The residents of Dadri have demanded that an FIR be lodged against Mohammad Akhlaque’s family (lynched to death last year) for storing beef?
They have moved court, next date of hearing is June 23. Let’s wait till then. My views are very clear on it.
What is the police’s view?
The police view is that the piece of meat in question was recovered from a public place, which is a dustbin outside the house of Mohammad Akhlaque. To blame or put the responsibility on any one person living in the locality would not be correct. The fact of the mater that a person was lynched at his home and that is definitely a crime. We have charged the accused and the trial is on. Now to come up with this theory is more of an afterthought.
How did the report of the forensic department that the meat sent for examination was beef become public?
It was supplied to the court by the police and the court directed to give a copy to the accused persons. The counsel of the accused person leaked it to the press for reasons best known to him.
What do you have to say about brandishing of weapons by Bajrang Dal activists in U.P. recently?
I don’t think there have been many such incidents like this. In Faizabad, we registered a case and one person was arrested. That is the only case I can recall. There have been no brandishing of weapons in the last four months, that is heartening to know.
Do you think that stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists during these self-defence training camps are justified?
Self-defence ends where someone else’s security begins, so that balance has to be maintained. Anyone trying to disturb that balance will be dealt with accordingly.
As long as they stay in (their) limits it’s fine, we will watch them.