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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

Muzaffarnagar riots: SC takes over HC cases

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 19, 2013
First Published: 22:09 IST(19/9/2013) | Last Updated: 02:49 IST(20/9/2013)

The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred to itself cases relating to Muzaffarnagar riots pending in the Allahabad high court and said it will continue to monitor the relief and rehabilitation for those affected by the communal violence.

Stating that it was aware about the prevailing situation and will pass direction if required, a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on steps taken by it.

The bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, listed the case for further hearing on September 26.

The Centre told the court that it was committed to providing all assistance to the state government.

Describing the riots as a “human tragedy”, Attorney General GE Vahanvati said there should be no blame game on this.

"I am making an unconditional statement that whatsoever is needed by the state government, whether it is a financial assistance or security personnel, will be provided by the Centre," Vahanvati said.

Advocate M L Sharma accused the authorities of bias in providing relief and compensation to the victims of the communal clash, saying both the Centre and the state government were concerned only about a particular community and FIRs had not been registered against them.

The bench, however, said it would not allow more pleas and those having any grievance can make representation to the counsel for Uttar Pradesh.

The court, which is seized of PILs filed by a group of residents of riots-affected areas and SC Bar Association for a CBI inquiry into the incident, had earlier directed the Uttar Pradesh government to take immediate steps in association with the Centre to bring under control the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and ensure safe passage to people stranded in the disturbed zone.

A total of 50 people were killed and more than 43,000 displaced in communal clashes that erupted on September 7 and lasted for several days.

On behalf of the petitioners, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium said in a situation of human tragedy the response of the central government within the federal framework would not be the same as in normal circumstances. Observing that the number of people displaced due to riots was "enormous", the court said: "At this stage, we can't assume that both the centre and the state government have not taken any step,...may be they (steps taken) are inadequate."

Responding to petitioners’ allegations that steps taken by the state government so far were inadequate, senior counsel Rajiv Dhavan (representing Uttar Pradesh government) said: "It is a serious situation. It (communal violence) is a tragedy of India that occurs again and again... it happened in Gujarat."


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