HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Saharanpur riots: Makkar refuses to blame BJP

HT Correspondent  Amritsar, August 18, 2014
First Published: 22:26 IST(18/8/2014) | Last Updated: 22:32 IST(18/8/2014)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) does not agree with the findings of UP’s ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) team that put the blame on the BJP for last month's Saharanpur riots between some Sikhs and members of the Muslim community. The SGPC is controlled by Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is a longtime partner of the BJP in the state as well as in the NDA government at the Centre.

In a press release issued by the SGPC here on Monday, its president Avtar Singh Makkar demanded “an impartial probe into the riots to fix responsibility”. Later, when asked to comment on the SP report blaming the BJP, Makkar told HT, “Our sole concern is to pinpoint those who were responsible for the riots, so that they can be arrested and punished in accordance with the law. Our concern is that the report must be fair and impartial.”

The SP report has put the blame on Saharnpur’s BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal. The clashes began over construction on a disputed piece of land adjoining a gurdwara, and left three dead.

Makkar also demanded that criminal cases registered against members of the Sikh community should be withdrawn. An SGPC team had visited Saharanpur a day after the violence, while the SGPC chief himself and the Akal Takht jathedar too had gone there.

Prior to issuing the release, Makkar met a delegation of Sikhs from Saharanpur led by Harinder Singh, a former president of the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha there. He briefed Makkar about the losses suffered by Sikh families, whose houses or shops were damaged by mobs. Makkar assured the delegation that the SGPC would compensate the shopkeepers.

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