Shiv Sena ‘instigated’ Phagwara communal violence: probe

  • Jatinder Mahal, Hindustan Times, Kapurthala
  • Updated: Aug 17, 2016 21:55 IST
Police personnel trying to stop the groups protesting in Phagwara on July 22. (HT Photo)

A 39-page inquiry report submitted by the Phagwara additional deputy commissioner (ADC) has held Shiv Sena activists responsible for “instigating” communal violence in the town on July 22.

The report prepared by ADC Iqbal Singh Sandhu states members of the right-wing outfit deliberately carried out a protest march twice in the front of the mosque and raised derogatory slogans against Muslim community.

What was the incident? Communal clash in Phagwara, seven injured in stone-pelting

The report has also pointed to poor intelligence inputs and cops’ failure to act swiftly despite simmering tension between Hindu activists and Muslim community, supported by Sikhs, in days preceding the communal clash.

The ADC submitted the report last week to Kapurthala deputy commissioner Jaskiran Singh, who had told him to probe into five aspects, including the role of police and communities involved, similar incidents in the past and suggestions to avoid a recurrence.

DC Jaskiran Singh said the report doesn’t find the role of Muslim community and Akal Students’ Federation “objectionable”. He said the Sena activists forcibly shut down three shops belonging to Kashmiris and wrote objectionable slogans on the shutters besides trying to stop Delhi-Lahore buses.

Also read | Communal clash: Phagwara DSP suspended, SP transferred for negligence

Offended, Muslim community planned to carry out a protest march, but later submitted a memorandum to the Phagwara sub-divisional magistrate inside the mosque on July 22. “Shiv Sena workers deliberately carried out a second protest march and raised derogatory slogans before burning Pakistani flag in front of the mosque at 1:30pm, when the community comes out to pray. This was the prime reason behind the clash,” the report states.

Accusing the police intelligence wing of failing completely, the inquiry stated: “This communal clash could be averted if the city police had acted wisely, sensing the situation before the clash.” The report, however, appreciated suspended Phagwara deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Kanwalpreet Singh for avoiding further loss and bringing the situation under control.

The DC said he would submit the report to Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal on Friday. Meanwhile, the cross-case registered against both communities is still under investigation, said senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajinder Singh.

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