Mau riots: report criticises civil society's role

"Anything can happen in Eastern Uttar Pradesh any time"

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The recent riots in Mau, according to a Citizen's Report, is indicative of the fact that "Eastern Uttar Pradesh is sitting on the mouth of a communal volcano." Basing this conclusion on the way "swift attempts" were made to incite communal violence in Ballia, Ghazipur, Azamgarh, Deoria, Meerut and Agra, the report has warned: "Anything can happen here any time."

Prepared by Saajhi Duniya — which sent a four-member team to the riot-affected areas — the report is scathing in its criticism of the media for its biased reporting and laments the silence and inaction of civil society; particularly given the strong roots the Left used to have in this region. The report of the team — which comprised social activist Roop Rekha Verma, litterateurs Jai Prakash Dhumketu and Vibhuti Narain Rai, and journalist Nasiruddin Haider Khan — is being circulated by Teesta Setalvad of the Communalism Combat.

While differences between the two communities over the use of a loudspeaker during the "Bharat Milap Yatra" was the starting point of the violence, the team found it was fuelled by the power play between the local unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Hindu Yuva Vahini led by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath. Add to this the manner in which the local administration dealt with the situation; specially carrying bleeding Muslim boys to hospital in an open rickshaw trolley through localities dominated by the community.

This, the team found, resulted in the minority community apprehending further trouble and taking to the streets. At the other end of the spectrum, rumour mills worked overtime. "False rumours of the massacre of Hindus spread. It was widely rumoured that their property had been completely destroyed and their daughters kidnapped."

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