U.P. Ministers to probe Saharanpur clashes

With reports pointing towards the alleged involvement of “outsiders” in fanning last week’s communal violence in Saharanpur, coupled with the administrative failure, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has constituted a five-member ministerial team to probe the incident. The probe panel will be headed by Public Works Department and Irrigation Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav. The violence had claimed three lives and left 20 others injured.

Mr. Yadav has not set a time frame for completing the probe, but has asked the PWD Minister to visit Saharanpur at the earliest. The other members of the inquiry team are Ministers, Shivakant Ojha, Arvind Singh “Gope”, Ashu Malik and Ikram Qureshi.

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has been under fire for the failure of the law enforcing agencies to contain the outbreak of communal violence in the Western Uttar Pradesh town on July 26. The police are alleged to have been mute spectators as the rioters had a field day.

In addition to the inquiry by the ministerial group, another probe will be conducted by the Commissioner of Meerut Division. Home Secretary Kamal Saksena told journalists that the one-man inquiry committee will go into the causes of the outbreak of the violence and also pinpoint the role of officers who displayed laxity in controlling the violent incidents. The inquiry panel will also assess the loss of movable and immovable property and would suggest steps to stop such incidents in future, Mr. Saksena said. The decision to constitute an inquiry was taken two days back, the Home Secretary added.

The Meerut Commissioner has been asked to submit his report to Government in two weeks.

A local strongman, Moharram Ali alias Pappu “Sabhasad” (municipal councillor), who is believed to have links across the political spectrum, and five others have been arrested on charges of murder, arson and abetting violence. State IG (Law and Order), Amrendra Kumar Sengar said while 56 persons have been arrested for substantive offences, 53 other have been held for minor offences. Mr. Sengar said 96 cases related to violence and arson have been filed so far. The hunt is on for some other suspects, a senior police officer said in Lucknow.

Probe panel a sham

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party has slammed the Chief Minister’s decision to constitute a probe panel headed by Mr. Shivpal Singh Yadav. Describing the formation of the inquiry committee as a sham, BJP spokesman, Chandra Mohan said on Friday that it was an attempt to give the Government a clean chit. Incidentally, Saharanpur City is among the 12 constituencies where Assembly by-elections are due. The bypolls have been caused by the resignation of 12 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs, who were elected to Lok Sabha in the recent general elections. With the Bahujan Samaj Party deciding to stay away from the Assembly by elections and the Congress badly shaken by the Lok Sabha poll reverses, the BJP and the Samajwadi Party are the two mainstream parties in the fray.

Though the bypoll dates are yet to be announced by the Election Commission, the Samajwadi Party chief, Mulayam Singh, has announced the candidates for seven constituencies, including Saharanpur City. All the 12 seats were held by the BJP, but the party is yet to name any candidate.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 12:46:01 AM |

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