As Bareilly continued to remain on the boil for the 11th day on Saturday, the BJP set up a three-member committee to inquire into the communal violence.
The committee is headed by former Union minister Maneka Gandhi, an MP from Aaonla that is adjacent to Bareilly. Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath and Meerut MP Rajendra Agrawal are the other two members, a party release said.
On Saturday, a mob set fire to shops and vehicles in Qutabkhana and Subzi Mandi areas, while curfew continued in the five police areas of Kila, Baradari, Premnagar, Subhash Nagar and Kotwali. Fearing that violence might spread to other areas the district administration did not relax the curfew.
The ADG (Law and Order), Brij Lal, said that in order to restore communal harmony the district administration was holding meeting with the citizens. “The people residing on the outskirts of the city were also invited to the meeting. Adequate police force was deployed and the situation was under control,” he said.
The district administration is being blamed for mismanagement. “It’s a clear case of mishandling by the district administration,” a police officer said. “Tension was limited to four police areas, later it spread.”
“On several occasions the decisions taken by the district administration was by-passed and directives came from Lucknow that curfew should be relaxed,” said a police officer posted in Bareilly.
The intelligence department, too, reportedly failed to alert the administration.
The BJP is blaming the Mayawati government for the clashes. Trouble began on March 2 during the Barawafat procession. A minor communal clash led to curfew.
Maulana Tauquir Raza Khan, president of the Ittehad-e-Millat Council, was arrested for his “rabble-rousing speech” that had led to communal tension. He was released after some groups said Muslims would boycott the BSP rally in Lucknow on March 15.