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Belated justice to Kanpur victims
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Claiming that Insaf aur insaniyat hi hamare saare faislon ka adhar hoga (justice and humanity will be the basis of all our decisions) chief Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that the Kanpur riot will be probed by a member of the revenue board who is a senior IAS officer. He assured that stringent action will be taken against those found involved in inciting the communal disharmony and the government will deal ‘ruthlessly’ with those found desecrating religious scriptures of any community. He also announced financial assistance to the victims including those whose shops and business establishments were gutted.

Earlier a Muslim delegation headed by Mr Tanveer Haider Usmani, ex-MLC (BJP) and a senior journalist, called on the chief minister at his residence in Lucknow and asked for compensation to all the victims. The delegation included Dr. Naeem Hamid, Maulana Abdul Sami, Mufti Manzoor Ahmad Mazahri and Qari Muhammad Elahi. The chief minister gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured that financial aid will be provided to all the victims whether killed by the rioters or gunned down by the police. He also assured the delegation that the entire episode will be investigated thoroughly and the guilty will be punished irrespective of belonging to the police or any other agency.

The chief minister, who won the Haidergarh constituency election in the meantime, visited Kanpur on 12 April and met different delegations in the circuit house. He assured the Muslim delegation headed by Qazi of the city that the government will not discriminate between people on the basis of religion or cast.

He also called upon the widow of the slain ADM, CP Pathak, and gave her a cheque of Rs. .5 million as ex-gratia. He also announced that his widow will be appointed as a lecturer in a local college and the government will bear all the education expenses of her two daughters, besides Rs. .4 million deposited in a fixed deposit account for the girls. The chief minister announced that Rs. .2 million will be given to each victim as per the standard amount fixed during the 1992 communal riot. He also announced that free medical aid will be provided to all the injured and Rs. 2 million have been earmarked for this purpose. The government also intends to compensate the loss of property and business establishments so that the victims may start their businesses afresh. Mr. Rajnath Singh sanctioned Rs. one lakh to the orderly of the slain ADM for his treatment. It may be noted that earlier it was said that he too died in the hospital which proved to be a rumour.

Mr. Rajnath Singh clarified that he did not believe in banning any organization, including SIMI, but anyone found indulging in subversive or anti-national activities will be dealt with iron hand. He also rejected the demand of setting up judicial enquiry into the riot saying that it takes too much time Mr. Singh appealed to the people to help the administration in bringing back normalcy and maintaining communal harmony.

Mr. Singh said anyone having any complaint against the administration or the government is welcome to call upon him at his residence in Lucknow even late in the night. He said that he wants to establish direct communication with the people for avoiding any communication gap which is the root cause of many misunderstandings.

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