Police And Administration Played A Partisan Role, Says Fact-Finding Report On Kasganj Violence
A team of journalists, social activists along with the former Inspector General of Police, Uttar Pradesh conducted a detailed fact-finding research on the Kasganj violence. The 13-page report was released at the Press Club of India, New Delhi on Monday, as reported by Caravan.
Members of the team
SR Darapuri (retd. IG, Uttar Pradesh Police), Adv. Asad Hayat Khan, Amit Sengupta (senior journalist), Rakhi Sehgal (social activist), Hasanul Banna (journalist), Aleemullah Khan (senior journalist), Mohit Pandey (ex JNUSU President and member United Against Hate), Banojyotsna Lahiri (Lecturer and member United Against Hate), Nadeem Khan (Social activist and member United Against Hate), Khalid Saifi (Social activist and member United Against Hate), Shariq Hussain (Social activist and member United Against Hate).
What they said
They interacted with the residents of Kasganj, both from the Hindu communities and the Muslim communities. After thorough interviews, they noticed four important issues.
Firstly, they said, that the violence that happened in Kasganj on Republic day was not a spontaneous attack but a planned one. The reason for such a conclusion is that locals said that apparently on August 15, 2017, youth from ABVP and Sankalp Foundation took out rallies through Muslim-dominated area shouting provocative slogans. Nobody paid any attention to them.
Caravan writes, “That was a ‘test run’ for a larger socially engineered plan of action on 26 January 2018…That they were tolerant and overlooked the 15 August ‘test run’, may have emboldened the youth to try something sinister,” reads the report.
Secondly, from the ground evidence that is available and also after taking local resident’s version into consideration, it was found that the police and the administration played a partisan role and allow the ABVP and Sankalp foundation groups to run amok and vandalise shops and mosques.
“In spite of reports that the motorcycle rally of ABVP and Sankalp Foundation youth started from Prabhu Park at about 8am after firing of shots, no police questioned them or accompanied the rally. In spite of gunshots being fired and confrontation between the two communities, police force was not deployed in the market areas or in Hindu-dominated colonies, while the Muslim-dominated colonies were sealed in with residents not being able to move about.”
“On 27 January, even though police force was accompanying the funeral procession while returning through the Bilram market, the police force did not stop the looting and arson of Muslim-owned shops. Not enough force was deployed in the market even though it was on the return route of the funeral procession,” reads the report.
In the aftermath of the violence, at least 27 shops owned by Muslims have been burnt and looted and 2 mosques were vandalised. When they wanted to file FIRs, the police did not entertain them.
One Mansoor Sherwani, who lost his shoe-shop could only register a complaint but not an FIR.
Thirdly, political parties completely refrained from questioning anything regarding the violence. They are scared of losing Hindu votes.
“Earlier, parties and leaders would take a stand for truth. This happened at the time of Independence also. But now we are witnessing a very different thing. When minorities are being attacked, parties are not coming out to support them. Fearing a loss of Hindu votes, they are taking soft Hindutva approach,” a senior journalist said.
Fourth, The role played by the BJP MP Rajvir Singh has been utterly partisan and prejudiced, almost inflammatory, and this has been recorded in the media.
The enquiry regarding Chandan’s death is being done in a flimsy way. One Salim and a few others have been named in the FIR and Salim have also been arrested. The police say that Salim, a cloth merchant, had guns with him. Yet, no efforts have been made to match the ballistics of the gun with the one that killed Chandan.
Activist Nadeem Khan said: “One Mohsin was interrogated by the police and he said that Salim had opened fire that killed Chandan and wounded Naushad. But Naushad says he was not at that place. He got gunshots at some other place”.
Khan informed that 123 people have been arrested for the violence and clashes — 87 of them are from the minority community, reported Caravan.
The neighbouring Hindus of Kasganj are deeply saddened by the incident. They have been friends for a long time and were shook to see something like that happen in a place where communal harmony always persisted.
“Even though there is some scattered talk of an imaginary ‘border’ between Muslim and Hindus, there is also immense and widespread respect and concern for the targeted Muslims on the part of their Hindu neighbours, including shopkeepers in the market near Bilram Gate and Ghantaghar, also close to Kotwali Kasganj, the police station. Many said they have been neighbours in the market for over 50 years, even more. In some cases, for over 80 years, and there are inter-generational relations between the shopkeepers and their families. There was unanimity among the shopkeepers that Hindus and Muslims have lived in friendship, peace and harmony for several decades”, says the report.