Moradabad violence: report of the fact-finding committee
New Delhi (20 August 2011): This year 6th July was a black day for residents of Asalat Nagar Wagah, Dingarpur, Nankar and Asadpur villages of Moradabad district which are situated at a distance of 15-18 kilometers in the south west of the district headquarters.
News of alleged desecration of the Holy Qur’an by police personnel during a raid of a house in Asalat Nagar Wagah spread, hurting the minds and souls of the Muslim minority in the area. As a result, a chain of violence started between the public and police resulting in loss of public and private property, hurting communal harmony of the area, weakening police-public relations and causing huge economic losses. Large numbers of policemen were also injured in the violence including the D.I.G of the area. Serious injuries to children caused by police bullets, arrests of 38 persons including juveniles, destruction of property and Police atrocities against women, senior citizens and children seriously disturbed the peace of the area and inflicted psychological trauma on the villagers. Local media continuously reported the police version of the entire episode.
Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) sent a fact-finding mission to find out the circumstances which caused huge losses to the minority community as well as to the nation. The findings of the team are based on interviews with victims, their relatives, Administration and Police personnel.Findings (full report is here)
- Desecration of the Qur’an has some truth. Noorjahan’s statement was witnessed by neighbours also. It was not a mere rumour.
- When this news spread, villagers blocked the national highway demanding suspension of the culprit police officials.
- The fact is that first the mob jammed the main road and then attacked the police station as the administration failed to respond and console the hurt religious sentiments of the people and failed to meet their demands. The DIG received information about the incident. He was heading for Mainather Police station but a mob stopped him on at Dingarpur village. The DM of Moradabad, who was also travelling with him, finding the situation going out of control, returned to the district headquarters but the DIG was caught in a scuffle with the mob. The DIG opened fire on the stone-pelting villagers reportedly injuring four youths. Consquently, the Mob became more violent and attacked police officials resulting in serious injuries to the D.I.G and others.
- Police in reaction behaved like hired goons. They destroyed and looted shops, beat up women, juveniles and did not spare even senior citizens. These acts of violence by the police are beyond the law of the land. The Police have registered fake FIRs against villagers and have arrested mostly innocent people.
- The violence has caused severe damage to the local society and economy.
- Villagers have been since living in fear and children are been the worst affected.
- Police atrocities have not been brought into limelight. Local media reported as mouthpiece of the police officials.
- No FIR has been lodged yet against the police. No action taken against the culprit police officials who initiated the entire episode resulting in loss of property, business, police-community relations, communal harmony and the peace in the district.
- The DM is new to the area and perhaps had not done enough study to understand the incident and it's after effects on the local people. Nevertheless, in our discussion, we expected him to give us a brief account of the role of the administration in the given situation.The team did not find him as an efficient administrator in this case.
- The entire community in the nearby villages like Asalat Nagar Wagha, Dingarpur, Asadpur, Nankar etc. is living in constant fear of the police and this fear has seriously affected their daily and family life. Children have been without food, without education and without security for more than four weeks. Daily wage laborers and farmers are most affected.
- U.P. government should take proper action against the culprit police officials as their illegal and irresponsible action initiated the entire episode, resulting in loss of property, business, damage to police-community relations, communal harmony and peace in the district. The Police and the local administration must be asked to submit their report within a time-bound frame.
- Withdrawal of all FIRs and immediate release of innocent villagers.
- State Government should provide proper compensation to the affected villagers.
- This case must be investigated by the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and National Commission for Women (NCW) and proper actions should be taken against all human rights violations.
- Proper training must be provided to the police to deal with situations that can erupt due to hurt of religious sentiments and Police-community level meetings should be scheduled with the help of community leaders to strengthen police-public relations as soon as possible.
Syed Akhlak Ahmad, Secretary, Delhi Chapter, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), syed.akhlak[@]gmail.com
Afroz Alam Sahil, RTI activist and Editor, Beyond Headlines (www.beyondheadlines.in)
Dilnawaz Pasha, Sub-Editor, Bhaskar.com (Dainik Bhaskar Group)
Javed, Advocate, Moradabad District Court
Kamala Kanta Dash, Research Scholar, Monash University, Australia and President of Initiative for Nationalism, Secularism and Affirmative Action Network (INSAAN), Delhi Moradabad 6 July 2011 Police-Public Clash fact finding report