Analysis: Srikrishna Commission report
Srikrishna committee, that probed the Mumbai riots of 1993, has found Shiv Sena fomented and organised communal riots that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Muslims.
The Srikrishna committee, that probed the Mumbai riots of January 1993, has found that the Shiv Sena fomented and organised communal riots, which resulted in the deaths of many Muslims.
According to the final report of the Srikrishna panel, which was headed by Justice BN Srikrishna, Shiv Sena cadres led attacks on Muslims and their properties at the instigation of the Shiv Sena's top leaders. Bal Thackeray, Sena's chief, acted, writes Justice Srikrishna, "like a veteran commander." He ordered Shiva Sena cadres "to retaliate" for Muslim protests against the December 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya with "organised attacks against the Muslims."
The panel report also lays most of the blame for the Mumbai riot of December 1992 on the Shiv Sena. The outfit incited Muslims of Mumbai into taking to the streets with provocative "celebrations" of the razing of the Babri Masjid by Hindu fundamentalists.
There is no evidence, says Justice Srikrishna, that the December riot "was anything other than a spontaneous reaction of leaderless and incensed Muslim mobs, which commenced as peaceful, but soon degenerated..." The January disturbances, on the other hand, were preceded by weeks of propaganda by the Shiv Sena on the virtue of "retaliation," and exaggerated reports in its newspaper of Hindu casualties in the December riots.
Founded in the 1960s out of a campaign against the growing influence of non-Marathi-speakers in Mumbai, Shiv Sena became a major political force in the early 1980s, when it organised scabs, with the support of local Congress leaders, to break a strike by more than a 100,000 textile workers.
The commission report also condemns, although in less harsh terms, the BJP and the Congress, and finds that the Mumbai police systematically discriminated against Muslims.
During the Mumbai riots, Maharashtra's government then headed by the Congress, provided "effete political leadership," charges Srikrishna. For four days in January 1993, it failed to take concrete action to stop Shiv Sena-led mobs from rampaging through Muslim areas.
Justice Srikrishna's findings confirm what has long been general knowledge. Much of the political elite and security forces in Maharashtra were complicit in the riots that rocked India's largest city in December 1992 and January 1993.
In tabling the inquiry's report in the state assembly, then chief minister and presently speaker of the Lok Sabha Manohar Joshi rejected its findings and announced that only a handful of its recommendations, pertaining to police management, would be implemented. Apparently to the surprise even of his BJP allies, Joshi choose to attack the report in communal terms, calling it as "pro-Muslim" and "anti-Hindu."