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Enquiry Commission blames SIMI
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

The Kanpur police has arrested Haji Atiq and his friend Shafat in connection with the murder of the then Addl. District Magistrate SP Pathak during communal riots in the city on 16 March this year.

Earlier, toeing the familiar line of Sangh Parivar and other anti Muslim forces in the country, the SK Mukharjee Committee which probed the Kanpur riots that rocked the economic capital of the state has fully blamed the Students Islamic Movement of India ( SIMI) for the tragedy.

Mr Mukharjee has finalized his report that will be presented to the government soon. According to him 'the riots were planned and the arrests on the basis of the inputs provided by the intelligence bureau (IB) have confirmed that the SIMI has a hand in the riot.'

This is for the first time that the committee has made its findings public even before presenting it to the government. The normal course is that the commission presents its report to the government and the government spokesman usually briefs the press about the report but in his enthusiasm to nail the SIMI and satisfy the ego of his political boss, Mr Mukharjee broke the convention and briefed the press about its findings.

Mr Mukharjee said the SIMI leaders were seeking an opportunity to spark communal riot in the city and got the opportunity on March 16. The commission is probing as to how and where the processionists got the weapons to use against the police force on their way to Naveen market. It is also probing the role of the 11 member committee which had given the call to protest against the burning of the Holy Qur'an by the VHP workers in Delhi which sparked off countrywide protest by Muslims. One member of the said committee, Mr Muhammad Suleman, has already been booked under National Security Act (NSA) and another member, Dr Abrar Ahmad, has been arrested on charges of fomenting communal violence and hatching the conspiracy for the communal riot.

Mr Mukharjee also exposed the role and attitude of Muslim leaders who met him. According to Mr Mukharjee all of them blamed the police for excessive use of force but none of them threw light on the events of previous day that led to the riot (Muslims term it as police action).

The commission has directed the district administration to provide it the so called objectionable poster and details of the website (Yahoo) from which it was downloaded. The commission has also lambasted the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) and termed it as callous and negligent. Blaming the district administration Mr Mukharjee said had it taken prompt action after the events of the previous day the tragedy could have been averted. 'They failed to read the writing on the wall' he remarked.

The administration failed to react when appeals were made not to bring children in Friday Namaz and the procession should have been stopped at Yateemkhana crossing and should not have been allowed to reach the BJP office in Naveen market.

The commission failed deliberately, perhaps, to expose the PAC which used anti social elements from the majority community to loot and burn the business establishments and shops belonging to Muslims. It was a new and most dangerous trend that the anti social elements having allegiance to the militant wing of the Sangh Parivar became a part of law enforcing agencies, and the commission very conveniently overlooked this fact and put the entire blame on SIMI.

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