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SC blames UP for failure to prevent riots

NEW DELHI, March 26, 2014, DHNS: 2:13 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday held the Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government prima facie responsible for negligence in preventing communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts but refused to direct a CBI or SIT probe into the cases relating to killings, rape and arson. PTI file photo
The Supreme Court on Wednesday held the Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government prima facie responsible for negligence in preventing communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts but refused to direct a CBI or SIT probe into the cases relating to killings, rape and arson.

The apex court also ticked off the UPA government for failing to alert the state government over possible communal flare up.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice P Sathasivam was critical of the lack of adequate efforts by the state government in checking outbreak of violence in September last which claimed more than 60 lives and rendered thousands homeless, besides leaving hundreds injured.

The apex court’s order could fuel political debate hovering around communal and secular issue on the eve of Lok Sabha elections.

Notably, the Supreme Court had earlier in 2004 made very caustic remark over the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat when it had transferred the trial in the Best Bakery case to Maharashtra saying "the modern day Neros were looking elsewhere when Best Bakery and innocent children and helpless women were burning”.

Disposing of a bunch of PILs on Muzaffarnagar riots, the court noted the incidents of communal clashes could have been prevented if the intelligence agencies had given the prior information to the administration.

“Had the central and state intelligence agencies smelt these problems in advance and alerted the district administration, the unfortunate incidents could have been prevented. Thus, we prima facie hold the state government responsible for being negligent at the initial stage in not anticipating the communal violence and for taking necessary steps for its prevention,” the bench said in its 92-page judgment.

The bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, directed the government to pay compensation of Rs 15 lakh to family members of those killed in the violence and Rs 5 lakh to rape victims.

In its verdict, the bench also noted, “Though the central government even on day one informed this court through the Attorney General that all necessary help, both financially and for maintaining law and order, had been provided to the state, there is no authoritative information to this court whether there was any advance intimation to the state about the communal violence.”

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