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Saharanpur Riots: UP Govt Panel Targets BJP, Sparks Blame-Game

Lucknow
File: PTI

A UP government panel today accused a BJP MP of inciting Saharanpur riots, besides blaming laxity by local officials, sparking a war of words among parties with BJP dismissing the report as "politically motivated" and an attempt by ruling Samajwadi Party to hide its "failures".

"The report has been submitted by the committee to chief minister which names a BJP MP besides pointing out laxity of administrative officers," Samajwadi Party's national general secretary Naresh Agarwal said.

"As the role of a BJP MP has also come to the fore, we can say that the party (BJP) has a role in the Saharanpur incident," he said.

The five-member committee headed by UP minister Shivpal Yadav, which inquired into the July 26 violence in the western UP district that left three persons dead, has alleged that local BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal provoked the rioters which led to attempts to torch shops, according to sources.

Trashing the allegations, Lakhanpal said they reflected the "low level politics" of Samajawadi Party which was trying to "appease" a particular community ahead of Assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh.

"It is politically motivated. I have been praised for my efforts to end to the violence and restore peace. The government should have thanked me instead of levelling false allegations," the MP told PTI in Saharanpur.

While the BJP dismissed the report as an attempt by the Samajwadi Party to gain political mileage, BSP supremo Mayawati targeted both Samajwadi Party and BJP, alleging that the two parties were hand in glove in fanning communal violence in the state.

The BSP leader said the "actual facts" are were buried and the report has little meaning.

"BJP and SP are hand in glove. The report has not put forth the actual facts. It has little meaning. We do not accept the report," Mayawati said.

The Congress too reacted sharply saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow his words that communalism will not be tolerated and take up the issue "strictly" with his party men.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he would not comment as it was a "report of a political party" and he had not seen it.

The report has blamed laxity of some officers and said the government should take stern action against them to give a message to the bureaucracy, Agarwal said.

The committee alleged that the administration became active only after the violence broke out.

As the holy month of Ramzan was going on, the administration should not have allowed any construction at the disputed site or members of opposite community to assemble, the report said. 

Questioning the findings, BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, "When there is an administrative failure, then how is BJP responsible for the clashes".

He said SP was indulging in a blame game for political mileage.

"It is report of the party and not the government. What do you expect from SP which has been blaming BJP time and again to conceal its own government's failures," Pathak alleged.

Reacting to the report, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "It is very painful. In Meerut, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Everywhere VHP and BJP members have been named. On one hand the Prime Minister, speaking from the Red Fort, tells the country that communalism will not be tolerated. On the other hand his party members indulge in such wrong activities. The PM should talk to his party workers strictly about it."

The five-member inquiry committee had Shivakant Ojha (minister for technical education), Minister for Rural Development Arvind Singh Gope and SP leaders Ashu Malik and Haji Ikram Qureshi, who is also the district president of Saharanpur, as its members. It had visited Saharanpur to prepare the report.

The committee was constituted by SP state president Akhilesh Yadav.

Violence erupted in Kutubsher area of Saharanpur on July 26 when members of two communities clashed for several hours over a land dispute. The violence had claimed three lives and left more than 20 people injured.

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