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Kanpur riots
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

‘Tactlessness’ on the part of administration and ‘senselessness’ of Muslim youths are mostly responsible for the Kanpur tragedy that left behind itself a trail of death and destruction. It is also the failure of Muslim leadership in the communally sensitive city of Kanpur. Either they failed to rise to the occasion or they were shouted down by zealots within the community who took over the leadership and held it at ransom for their own petty considerations. Whatever the fact, the Muslims in Kanpur paid a heavy price with about 30 persons dead and properties worth millions of rupees destroyed.

It is alleged that the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is behind the entire episode, while the SIMI says that it has nothing to do with the developments on that day. Instead it had called for demonstrations next day and the Congress was organizing the demonstrations on that fateful day against revelations. This Congress demonstration took an ugly turn when unknown elements joined it.

The administration in Kanpur, which seemed to be in deep slumber at the initial stage, became rudderless and finally communal. Protest is our democratic right. Like every citizen Muslims too are free to use this democratic right whenever they feel the need to air their demands. Why the Kanpur administration did not allow the burning of effigies whereas their counterparts in the state capital allowed this. When the administration in Kanpur was chasing Muslim youths and stopping them from exercising their democratic rights, hundreds of political workers belonging to different political parties were burning the effigies of the PM and other leaders in front of the state assembly building in the presence of administrative and police officers. The main cause behind the trouble in Kanpur is this double standard on the part of the local administration.

Two points deserve to be probed thoroughly (1) wether not allowing the burning of effigies and (2) the lacklustre approach were part of a conspiracy to teach the Muslims of Kanpur a lesson..

The final stage of administrative action is much more serious and dangerous. The entire administration seems to be after the blood of Muslims. It lost all sense of impartiality and fair play and let loose a reign of terror against Muslims. Their shops, business establishments, houses and places of worships were singled out for destruction whereas their youths were selectively gunned down.
Kanpur was in no way a communal riot. Instead it was a police action against Muslims. The police used the services of Hindu anti-social elements to fulfill its nefarious designs, which is a dangerous and entirely new phenomenon which should be probed and checked at all cost.

Newspaper reports are full with all kinds of concocted stories. Kanpur’s Muslim-dominated areas are being presented as a second J&K where writ of terrorist outfits runs large! Hindustan Times particularly is religiously busy in placing the entire blame on SIMI. It seems as if HT reporters are much more informed than the intelligence sleuths of UP and India. The replacement of PAC with RAF and other central forces helped in bringing about peace in this communally sensitive city but the wounds will take long time to heal. 

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