A probe found no lapse by Uttar Pradesh’s SP government in controlling the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots that led to 60 deaths and left thousands homeless, as the report tabled in the assembly on Sunday blamed local police and intelligence for mishandling the communal clashes.
The one-man inquiry commission of justice (retd) Vishnu Sahai said a police decision to release 14 people— mostly Muslims— picked up over the murder of two Hindu youths angered the community, including Jat groups, who concluded the ruling Samajwadi Party was biased.
Clashes between a handful of Jats and Muslims triggered the violence that spread like wildfire across the district with inflammatory speeches from local politicians fanning the flames.
“Though the 14 youths, let off by police, had no role in the murder of two Hindu youths and there was no real suspicion on their involvement either, their release sent an impression about the government’s perceived pro-Muslim tilt and the impression that quickly gained currency among the Jats that the administration was working under the influence of Muslims,” the report says.
The probe panel set up by the state government said no further action can be taken against BJP lawmaker Sangeet Som, who allegedly uploaded a fake video on YouTube that provoked the killings, as police are investigating his role.
Som is an accused in two cases related to the riots. He was arrested and is out on bail.
Without naming any organisation, the commission also criticised social and print media for the way the clashes were reported.
The panel said a decision to transfer the then district magistrate, Surendra Singh, and SSP Manjul Saini, on whose orders eight of the 14 people were picked up by police, added to the perception of bias.
Hindus were also angered by authorities naming as accused family members of the two Hindu youths— who were killed— in the murder of a Muslim youth, the commission said.
The report was submitted to governor Ram Naik six months ago when it was termed “politically motivated” by the BJP.