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Posted Online on Saturday 4, November 2005 09:45 IST

Muslim Islamic NewsFocus: Communal riots

Mau riot: 'total administration failure'

By Kulsum Mustafa

The Milli Gazette Online

3 November 2005

Lucknow: According to the findings of Saanjhi Duniya,, a Lucknow-based umbrella of NGOs, the riots of Mau, whcih started on 13 October, were instigated by Hindu outfit leaders and represent a total failure of the district administration machinery to control them. 

While official figures claim nine people lost their lives in the violence, unofficial sources put the death toll at just double, scores were injured and property worth crores destroyed in the Muslim-dominated handloom centre of Uttar Pradesh.

Dr Rooprekha Verma,, former vice chancellor of Lucknow University and founder of Saanjhi Duniya which has in the past several years waged war against social evils like communalism, visited Mau on 18 October along with another social activist, Nasiruddin. They presented their findings to the media here on 22 October.

Findings of Saanjhi Duniya

» Media reports depicted as if it was only members of the Hindu community which bore the brunt of the riots. This is untrue as the Muslims lost lives as well as huge amount of property.

» Media has generally been silent on the role of the Hindu Vahini and Hindu Mahasabha though it is clear that the two played a major role in instigating violence and in starting the riots.

» It was total district administration failure: their role under the sensitive and dangerous situation is deplorable They failed to perform their duty. 

MG's Print Edition, 1-15 November 2005, p. 1

According to the report, despite Mau 's communal character and the fact that the last flareup here happened during the Durga puja on 7 October 2000, there was inadequate police bandobast. According to Dr Verma, more care should have been taken to tighten law and order, more so as Dusshera this year was falling during Ramzan. 

"We visited the riot-affected areas, spoke to people affected both directly and indirectly in the riots and also tried to find out the role of Mukhtar Ansari in the riots," said Dr Verma. 

Mafia don turned politician Ansari, an independent MLC against whom and 200 others criminal cases were registered on 19 October, is alleged to have fanned communal violence in Mau. He has been charged with murder, inciting riots and loot. Criminal cases were also registered against BJP MLC and member of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, Sujit Singh Chandel, Ajit Singh Chandel and others, but Principal Secretary Alok Sinha has clarified that the cases against them have been lodged as individuals and not as leaders of any outfit. 

While not giving a clean chit to Ansari, Dr Verma said that circumstancial evidence and people's statement go in his favour. Members of both the communities told them that Ansari was not there when the violence started, that he arrived on the scene much later. 

"It seems that like an opportunist politician Ansari was trying to gain popularity by acting as a saviour and trying to pacify the rioters. For this he was even pelted with stones," said Dr Verma adding that it cannot be denied that Ansari's presence did give encouragement to the anti-social elements in his community . 

Going into the background of the riots, Verma said that the place where the traditional Bharat Milap programme is organized is very close to the Shahi Katra Masjid in a predominantly Muslim area. 

On the evening of 13 October, loudspeakers were being used during the preparation of Bharat Milap function which was objected to by the Muslims as it was time for taraweeh prayers which are offered after ‘Isha prayers during Ramadan. The loudspeakers were stopped for a while but restarted soon. Some Muslim youth in anger tore off the electric wires of the speakers. This angered Hindus and a fight between the two started. The Ramlila Samiti then decided that the Bharat milap would be shifted to 29 October.

But the next morning workers of Hindu Vahini and Hindu Mahasabha under the leadership of Ajit Singh Chandel, Punit Singh Chandel and Surjit Kuamr Singh started a jam near the Shahi Masjid. protesting against deferring of the function. 

Soon stone pelting started and it was Ajit Singh who was the first to fire from his rifle, injuring several people. Soon it was free for all. There is a section which is of the opinion that the Mau riots were an engineered ploy to damage the Muslims of Mau because most of the weavers and prosperous businessmen in this eastern UP town are Muslims. 

Not agreeing to this stream of thought, Dr Verma said that while that could be the inner aim of the rioters, initially Mau riots were triggered off by a very small incident which because of the apathy of the law-keepers to control the situation got out of control.
[MG, Print Edition 1-15 November 2005, p. 1] «

See also in this section:

Focus: Communal riots

:: Riot After Riot

:: Mau riot: ‘total administration failure'

:: Politicians exploit Mau riots

:: Communal riots in India or Conspiracy

:: Communal clashes in Partawal

:: Communal riots in Bahraich

:: Communal tension in Laour

:: Bhagwa flag in Eidgah creates tension

:: Communal riots in Assam

:: Communal Clash in Agra

:: Tension in Karnataka village

:: Communal clash in Delhi locality

:: Is 'Riot Free India' a possibility?

:: Communal Riot in Mau: A Report

 

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