The Justice Vishnu Sahay Commission report that probed the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 has put the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh in the proverbial Catch-22 situation.
The 700-page report, wrapped in ambiguity and contradictions, may have given the UP government a clean chit, but it has also cast — albeit, unwittingly — aspersions on the Samajwadi Party.
The Sahay report gives a clean chit to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue of riots. Ever since the riots took place in September 2013, Samajwadi Party leaders have been accusing the BJP of engineering the riots.
The Sahay report blows to smithereens the claims, leaving the SP with almost no ammunition against the BJP for next year’s Assembly elections.
“The Vishnu Sahay Commission report has put us in the dock because we can no longer blame the BJP for the Muzaffarnagar riots. We cannot even rubbish the report because the commission was set up by us. Besides, by blaming no one in particular, especially the political parties, the commission has betrayed us. It has taken the steam out of our campaign for 2017,” complained a senior Samajwadi Party minister.
However, the report has also been rejected by the BJP, which is now demanding a CBI inquiry into the riots. The BSP too has termed the report as “eyewash”.
“We always maintained that it was the SP, which was responsible for the riots and the report is a desperate bid to save the ruling party. We have been falsely implicated in the riots and we now demand a CBI probe to unravel the truth,” said BJP MLA Sangeet Som, who is accused of uploading a fake video that triggered the riots.
The clean chit to the BJP leaders has angered Muslims in western UP.
Asghar Hussain, a riot victim in Shamli district, says, “We suffered the maximum: lost out kin, our home, our land. We have been living as refugees since 2013 and now the government wants us to believe that no one is responsible for the riots. This was the worst cut that we have got from the Samajwadi Party.”
The Sahay Commission has found only two persons guilty for the riots, the then SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey and a local intelligence inspector, Prabal Pratap Singh.
The commission, while alleging laxity on the part of the local administration, also underlines the fact that the Uttar Pradesh government is not to be blamed for what happened in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, but also adds that the transfer of officials during the riots led to the worsening of the situation. If the state government did not take this decision, then who did?
The report also said that as far as the Maha Panchayat of 30August 2013 is concerned, a case against BSP politicians Qadir Rana, Noor Salim Rana, Rashid Siddiqui, Ehsan Qureshi and others has been already registered and hence no further action could be taken.
The report, intriguingly, said that no one could be directly held responsible for the hate speeches and it was an intelligence failure that could not estimate the expected crowd turnover.
“It is clear that the commission is completely confused in the report. It admits certain things but says that no one can be blamed. The riots happened but it is just one officer and an inspector who are being made the scapegoats. The repeated assertion is on a clean chit to the government,” said a retired judge who did not wish to be named.
The UP IPS Association has decided to take up the issue and seek a review of the departmental inquiry against their colleague, SSP Dubey.