Kasganj violence: Police target Muslims, protect Hindus, says independent probe

The People’s Collective has put forward six recommendations to the UP Govt, demanding high level inquiry into the administrative and police failure during Kasganj violence on Republic day

The People’s Collective released a fact-finding report on the Kasganj violence, which occurred on Republic Day, at the Constitution Club on Wednesday. The collective has also put forward six recommendations to the Uttar Pradesh Government.

What happened on January 26, 2018?

On the morning of January 26, around 80 boys carrying the tricolour and saffron flags, reached Abdul Hamid Chowk, near Bilram Gate— an area densely populated by Muslims — and asked them to chant objectionable slogans.

There are two versions of what followed this encounter. While the Hindu community claims they had just asked the Muslims to chant Vande Mataram and were beaten up and fired upon by the Muslims, which resulted in Chandan’s death; the Muslims claim their Republic Day celebrations were mobbed by Hindus, who beat the local Muslims and clashed with the police, which led to Chandan’s death.

What is not disputed though is the fact that it was communal violence partly provoked by a war of words on Facebook, which makes the Kasganj clashes one-of-its-kind in the country.

The fact finding report endorsed by many civil society organisation has put forth some hard hitting facts and raised question on police investigations and have pointed out some major contradiction in the FIRs filed.

Many of these Hindus are indeed connected with Adityanath’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Facebook pages of some are rabidly Islamophobic and Hindutva supremacist

These are the some of the points raised by the independent investigation:

Hindutva connection: The first FIR said information of the violence first reached the police station at 10.09 pm on January 26, and was written in the General Diary as entry no. 43.

But a previous entry in the General Diary, no. 29, showed that the first information of the violence had reached the police station at 11.53 am. This entry no. 29 said that the Hindus in the rally belonged to the “Hindu Vishwa Vahini”. This perhaps referred to the Hindu Yuva Vahini, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Hindutva outfit.

Many of these Hindus are indeed connected with Adityanath’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Facebook pages of some are rabidly Islamophobic and Hindutva supremacist.

Biased Investigation: Minutes after mentioning four Muslims in the FIR, the SHO gave a statement to Tomar. In it he named 24 more Muslims saying “it has come to my knowledge” they, too, were involved. The SHO did not reveal the source of this “knowledge” gained so quickly after the FIR.

Tomar’s three-month investigation, too, did not bother to find the source behind the names of these 24 Muslims. Most of these Muslims were later accused of killing Chandan Gupta, the 19 year-old man who died in the shootout.

Protecting the Hindus: Sub-Inspector Mohar Singh Tomar, (the investigating officer according to the FIR) did not investigate the Hindus for the violence to establish their identities, leave alone arrest them, though many policemen and witnesses said the Hindus, too, indulged in the violence.

In fact, on January 27, the day after the violence, Haji Aleem, the imam of one such mosque, had given Tomar a detailed description of the attack by arsonists. Aleem’s neighbour corroborated his claim. But Tomar never investigated it.

Two Hindus who shut their shops in the rioting told Tomar they did not recognise the vandals. This suggests they were outsiders and not local Muslims. Yet, Tomar did not investigate these attackers.

After the investigation, the people’s collective have put forth six recommendations

Demands of the People’s Collective:

  • Terminate the current tainted prosecution of the two charge-sheets;
  • Move the Allahabad High Court seeking a fresh police investigation directly reporting to and monitored by the hon’ble court;
  • Constitute a high-level official inquiry into the administrative and police failure to prevent the January 26 violence and its escalation once the police reached the spot;
  • Constitute a high-level official inquiry into the sabotage of the investigations and establish responsibility for framing innocent Muslims;
  • Withdraw the fraudulent criminal charges against the Muslims and release them; and
  • Arrest the Hindus from the motorcycle rally and investigate their role in the violence

Source: National Herald

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