The Supreme Court was told Wednesday that the perpetrators of rape, arson and causing grievous injuries during the September 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots were moving freely and the Uttar Pradesh Police had done nothing to arrest them.
“The government’s own data shows that in the cases of murder, arson, grievous injuries and rape, 80 percent of the people named in over 600 FIRs lodged have not been arrested,” senior counsel Colin Gonsalves told a bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Gonsalves, who appeared for NGO ANHAD, told the court that the state government’s records show that the reported death of children and old people have been confirmed by the government’s inquiry reports.
Seeking a SIT probe onto atrocities committed during the riots, Gonsalves said that every single report starting with ANHAD report of September 2013, and those of the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Minorities, the Asian Human Rights Commission and Harsh Mandar show that the situation remains the same and government was in complete denial mode.
Gonsalves said this to the court in the course of the hearing of two petitions – one by Mohammad Haroon and eight other residents of Muzaffarnagar and the other by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that had sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the communal flare-up and also for providing immediate relief to the victims of the riots.
The court had issued notice to the central and the Uttar Pradesh governments on two petitions on Sep 12, 2013.
The apex court was told that political leaders – MPs and legislators who gave hate speeches on visual media and elsewhere – have either not been arrested or released on bail soon after their arrest.
Appearing for a Jat whose family was allegedly victims of the riots, counsel M.L. Sharma trained his guns on the Muslim community alleging that it were they who had triggered the riots by attacking people returning after Jat Mahapanchayat which was peaceful.
Sharma alleged that it were the members of the minority community who had set-off the riots then came to apex court misleading it to claim compensation. He said that not only the members of minority community but all the victims of riots should get food, shelter and relief.
The hearing was adjourned till Feb 5, when senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan would respond on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh government.