Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Books & Authors/ DAWN, January 29,2006


Vibhuti Narain Rai : Observation at close quarters -
By Asif Farrukhi

A writer is often described- and rightly so-as the conscience of the age, a guardian angel or a watchdog against all that is wrong in society. But what if the guardian turns into an actual guard? The writer as a real life thanedar. Can one speak of a portrait of an artist as a policeman? In the case of Vibhuti Narain Rai, the answer is a big ‘yes’. But then, he is an exception on more than one count.
Police officer and writer, Rai was born in 1951 in a small village near Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh. He did his masters from Allahabad University in 1971 and in 1975 he joined the Indian Police Service. During his association with the police, he came to see the Hindu-Muslim riots at close hands and while he was associated as a fellow with the National Police Academy in Hyderabad he carried out research on “the perception of police neutrality during communal strife”, which was published as a book and was later translated into Hindi and Urdu.
He depicted the same theme in his short and intense novel Shahar Main Curfew which created a stir in the Hindi circles when it was first published .It viewed the communal issue from the perspective of the victims, who happened to be poverty-ridden Muslim beedi –workers in this case, and was dubbed “pro-Muslim”. The novel was translated into Urdu by Waqar Nasiri and published in India as well as in Pakistan , where it was printed in two journals before being released in book form. The well-known scholar Prof C.M. Naim translated it into English with the title, Curfew in the City in 1998.
While this novel remains his best known work, Rai has penned a number of others, including the novels Ghar, Qissa Lok-Tantra and Tabadala. He has served as editor of a literary journal in Hindi and has also published a collection of satirical pieces.
Posted in Lucknow at present, Rai was recently in Pakistan to participate in the Sajjad Zaheer Centenary celebrations organised by the Irtiqa group. In his busy schedule, he listened patiently to the lengthy deliberations, seemed more relaxed while exchanging notes outside the conference hall and drove down with me to chat about things in general over a cup of tea.
Rai does not see any contradiction in his work as a police officer and his vocation as a writer. At ease with questions, he sits back to talk, looking more like a professor of Hindi literature than anything else.
“The situation in Hindi is bad and with freelancing, it is not possible to lead a comfortable middle-class life,” he says. “So I had to look for a job and it so happened that I joined the police. I am asked this question often that there is no direct relationship between literature and the police department and the two seem contradictory. But my work has also presented me with some opportunities. I was able to meet more people and see certain things closely which if I had been in some other department; I would not have been able to do. These include criminals, touts, corrupt politicians, corrupt officials and other such elements of our society. I was able to observe at close quarters the criminal violence which stems from fundamentalism and is gaining grounds in our society. I don’t think I made any mistake in selecting my job.”
According to Mr. Rai, the ideas for three of his novels emerged from his experience as a police officer. In Tabadala he has tackled the issue of corruption rampant in the system. He says. that he was interested in the issue of communal violence. While he was posted in Allahabad in the initial phase of his career ,he had to deal with such a riot." Although I was still relatively junior in my service , I had the opportunity to deal with it independently. I was witness to many events which were later incorporated in the novel," he says revealing his source.
The novel was even more appreciated in the Urdu circles, being reprinted, serialized or extracted in more than a hundred periodicals, "It is ironical that it was a critique of the Hindu behaviors , or the Hindu police," he says indicating that he is aware of a possible misleading of the book. He recounts that in certain Hindi circles, it was not accepted as a novel and some people termed it as "a mere reportage, a newspaper report". "Behind it was also the fear that Hindus have been shown as oppressors or perpetuators of violence," he explains.
"As a writer I was not concerned with favouring Hindus or Muslims. I wanted to depict my observations during the communal violence and as a writer, I will stand with those who suffer. I am saying this with reference to all writers not only myself. This is my commitment as a writer." He agrees that the novel has a feeling of empathy for Saeeda, its protagonist, " this is not only the story of Saeeda but the story of women in all the homes of Rani Mandi," he emphasizes.
This novel brought a large readership to Rai and he is more satisfied with it than his other books. There were 13 or 14 editions in Hindi alone and the book is translated in to Marathi Bangla and Punjabi. However Rai is not a one-book Writer. He smiles as he says that here in Pakistan he is known to many people by the name of his book rather than his own name.
He goes on to talk about his other books. His other well-known novel deals with what he calls, "the criminalization of politics in recent years and the rise of the mafia" when the mafia realized that all this time they working for others they could serve their own purpose better by running in elections." His recent work includes a collection of essays; mostly on communal issues and the dalit question.
Currently he is working on two novels. The first is a love story which he hopes to complete this year. The other novel is set in his native village. The story starts fro 1966, which he considers a watershed year "when the politics of the country changed. The Congress lost the elections in many states. The upper casts began to decline and the dalits began to open up spaces around themselves. Those changes are at the heart of this novel," he says.
Rai is familiar with the work of a number of Pakistani writers. He mentions Zaheda Hina and Fahmida Riaz, Saying that he would also keep a lookout for their new writings. He says that a good new work from Pakistan gets translated into Hindi fairly quickly. Going back to the previous generation of writers, he singles out Manto, Ibne Insha and Intizar Husain as writers whom he has cherished.
Rai is equally vocal about the other Hindi writings on Communal issues. "Our mainstream is anti-fascist and anti-communal," he says with a sense of pride. "Those who take a communal stance are not part of the Hindi mainstream. "This is our good fortune. Much has been written since Babri Mosque on this issue and our dominant stance is against all forms of communalism." He cites the work of a number of writers on this issue and the many collections of stories and poems which have appeared around this theme.
He takes a critical view of Nirmal Verma saying that he was openly and sometimes discreetly close to Hindutya. "Look, where he had started from and where he reached," he shakes his head. "But he is an exception rather than the norm," he says and goes on to talk of the Hindi writers who believe in freedom of expression, democracy and secularism. As he speaks of his cherished values, the face of this Hindi novelist is lit up with passion.

Communal Conflicts: Perception of Police Neutrality During Hindu-Muslim Riots in India-Author :Vibhuti Narain Rai

Islamic Voice- June-1999
Reviewed By : Yoginder Sikand
Publisher- Manas Publications-4402,5-A, Main Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi 110002
Recent decades have witnessed the escalation of incidents of inter-communal violence all over India, and regions where relations between different religious groups were hitherto relatively peaceful are now increasingly being threatened by the growing strength of communal and fascist groups. A salient feature of communal violence in India today is the increasing role of the police, meant to be the upholders of peace and the law, in organising, abetting and even perpetrating indiscriminate violence against minority and marginalised groups. The killing of several dozen innocent Muslim youths by the police in Hashimpura, Meerut, and the involvement of the police in the massacre of several hundred Muslims in Bhagalpur in 1989 are only the two most gruesome of the many instances of the active role of the police in the escalating persecution of minorities in India. Besides the Muslims, the involvement of the police in the suppression of other marginalised groups such as the Dalits is only too well-known to need any reiteration here.

This book is a pioneering attempt to document the role of the police in abetting communal violence, being structured around the theme of perceptions of police neutrality during Hindu-Muslim riots. The author is himself a senior officer of the Indian Police Service and has served in several communally sensitive districts of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most communally volatile state. He combines his official work with social activism, having written several novels dealing with the issue of communalism itself, and editing a Hindi literary journal. He thus brings with him in this book crucial insights of an insider in the police service along with a spirit of passionate social concern.

Rai places his study in the broader context of the emergence of the phenomenon of escalating communalism and inter-communal violence in the British period, and, with the help of selected case studies, shows that it is not religion per se but largely worldly interests that fuel the flames of inter-communal antagonism. He sees the further exacerbation of communal violence in the post-1947 era as related to India’s lop-sided process of capitalist development and the consequent strengthening of the influence of communalist groups. In particular, Hindu fascism is seen as playing the most critical role in this regard, with the rise of the Hindutva lobby reflecting, at root, the interests of the ruling class and castes in the face of the growing struggle of marginalised groups against oppression.

Based on intensive interviews with Muslims and Hindus involved in or faced with riot situations and discussions with police officers and men, Rai highlights the fact that, in general, Hindus tend to see the police as their friends while Muslims generally look upon them as their enemies. Rai writes that such a perception of the police is actually deeply rooted in the actual behaviors of the police force in general. The police, he says, routinely blame Muslims for rioting, and see them in terms of extremely negative stereotypes as wild fanatics and untrustworthy anti-nationals. This, he says, is actually quite contrary to the facts as they are, for in almost all the cases he has studied, Muslims are not the first to start the riots. Moreover, they suffer a disproportionately far more loss of life and property in communal rioting than the Hindu brethren. They, rather than the Hindus, also become the targets of the police, ostensibly sent to restore peace. The number of Muslims killed in police firing over the years is considerable, and these include cases of perfectly innocent women and children as well. “In all the riots discussed in this study”, he writes, the police “did not act as a neutral law enforcement agency but more as a ‘Hindu’ force”.

In concluding his study, Rai proposes several remedial measures to help promote police neutrality. These include increasing the now dismally low representation of Muslims in the police services; periodic training courses for the police in handling riot situations and helping to combat communal prejudice in their ranks; tough action against erring police men and officers guilty of engaging in or abetting persecution of the minorities; and setting up the peace committees consisting of Muslims, Hindus and the police in various localities.

The book suffers from certain methodological weaknesses. The findings have not been presented in a systematic manner; the questionnaire administered to the respondents is not well structured or detailed; the chapter on perception of police neutrality is extremely short although it is meant to be the main theme of the book; and the analysis of communalism in the British period could have been summarised into just a few pages instead of taking up almost half the book.

Rai’s disturbing findings need to be taken with the utmost seriousness, but he himself confesses that even senior police officers are reluctant to take any remedial action. He reveals that it is this ‘mental barrier’ and ‘rank communal prejudice’ against Muslims of top police officials that prevented him from gaining access to many documents that would have helped in his study. He writes that the police top-brass is ‘not prepared to accept these mistakes’, and that it was probably because of this that the institution that had sponsored this study, the SVP (National Police Academy), itself refused to publish his findings. A striking reminder that communal and fascist groups that have no regard for the rule of law and little concern for social justice have made large inroads into the institutions of the Indian state. If the book succeeds in waking up its readers to this frightening fact it would have served its purpose.


Islamic Voice -September 2002
Police invariably act in a communal fashion during riots
Vibhuti Narain Rai, Inspector General (Railways), UP, who will forever be known for his maxim: "Any communal riot can be controlled within 24 hours if the state wants to do so", created waves with his 1986 novel, Shahar Mein Curfew, about a Muslim family in a riot-hit town. He then came out with his study of police conduct in communal riots, sponsored by the National Police Academy (NPA), in which he concluded that the police invariably act in a communal fashion during riots. The NPA refused to publish the study. Recently, Rai created waves among his own fraternity by sending out an appeal that a special general body meeting of the Central IPS Association be held which should ask the government to act against those officers who allowed the violence against Muslims in Gujarat and/or encouraged it. During his recent visit to Mumbai, he spoke to Islamic Voice about the response to his appeal.

"Many of them supported me, but a few opposed it. Their opposition was not on a communal basis. They argued that you could not fix accountability on police officers in the circumstances prevailing in Gujarat, where those who had done their jobs as professionals had been punished. They argued that it was the political leadership that should be held accountable".

"I personally feel we have been cursing the political leadership for too long. It's high time we admit our own failure. Look at the 1984 Delhi anti-Sikh riots or the Mumbai riots of '92-'93. Both were failures of the state and hence failures of the police.

In my study on the role of the police in combating communal conflicts, I tried to find out how many officers had been punished for misdeeds during such conflicts. My conclusion "Almost none".

"I had expected a positive response to my appeal. I feel that the police are a very interesting family. The moment an outsider attacks them, an automatic defence mechanism begins to work and they dismiss it as motivated criticism. But since I am an insider, they could not dismiss my criticism. So they argued, what about the performance of the IAS officers in Gujarat? Should not the district magistrates be held accountable? These arguments don't hold much water. My concern is that my own organisation should function well. After Gujarat, we will have to admit that things are not right within us and demand that action be taken. If not, the officer should be expelled from the IPS Association. But they did not even call an extraordinary general Body Meeting".

"Rai feels that what happened in Gujarat was directly concerned with the legitimacy of an all-India service. I thought the majority of them would react. Barely 25 or 30 did. Inviting punishment on your own colleagues is difficult for any profession. And governments will never act against policemen. Citizens should use all fora - Supreme Court, National Human Rights Commission, Press, and take two or three important cases, like the 1984 Delhi violence, or the '92-'93 Mumbai riots. There should be a group, which takes them to their logical end. Unfortunately, this does not happen".

(As told to M . H. Lakdawala)


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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Handling communal riots / Vibhuti Narain Rai


Seminar-483
www.india-seminar.com/1999/483/483%20rai.htm
[ This is not a recent article. Actually this is not an article at all. This is a research document. The writer of this research paper, Shri Vibhuti Narain Rai was a high ranking police officer. At one time he served as S.P in different districts of U.P. Perhaps in the later years he rose to a higher rank.
The National Police Academy, Hyderabad, awarded him a fellowship to conduct research on a particular subject. The subject was —”Neutrality of the Police during Communal Riots” The subject of the research was undoubtedly very important.
Naturally the research paper was published in a book form. The book came out in the end of nineties of the last century. We are publishing here a small portion from the book. We have collected this portion through the Internet (website: www.india-seminar.com/1994/483 ). This portion of the book was read in a seminar on ‘Communalism' organised in 1999.
Shri Vibhuti Narain Rai had worked as a high-ranking police officer for a long time and so had observed the working of the police department from inside. The analysis and comments about the role of the police of our country from such a man undoubtedly carries serious significance. More specially, the research and observations of Shri Rai has assumed deeper significance after the recent Gujarat genocide. We have already seen, how the state and central government's version of the Godhra incident have been nullified by the report of the findings of the enquiry conducted by the Central Forensic Department. The research paper of Shri Rai reveals how the deep-seated prejudices, misconceptions and superstitions of the majority members of the police department predetermines the role of the police in the Hindu-Muslim communal riots. We have got taste of this in every step of the Gujarat genocide. And so the observations of Shri Rai has got invaluable ]

THE National Police Academy, Hyderabad, awarded me a fellowship to conduct a study on the neutrality of the police during communal riots, especially between Hindus and Muslims in India. During the course of my study, I encountered some disturbing trends in its behaviour. In most parts of the country, the relationship between the police and Muslims was inimical and community perception of the police in situations of communal tension was that of an enemy. This is true not only for the post Independence period; pre-Partition Indian society too expected the police to behave in a communal fashion. For a policeman, Hindu or Muslim, continued to be looked upon primarily as a protector of his own community.
While working on the project I came across two interesting incidents from pre-Partition days. The riots in East Bengal during the ’20s and ’30s were abetted by Muslim policemen spreading rumours among the Muslim peasants that attacks on Hindus would be considered as acts of loyalty to the Raj. Further, there was an agreement between the Nawab of Dhaka and the Emperor of Britain that attacks on Hindus would not attract any punishment. I also came across a petition submitted in the ’30s by one Pandit Raghuvar Dayal of Kanpur that Hindu citizens of the town felt insecure because of a lower representation in the Kanpur police. These two instances exemplified the dominant trend in Indian society of the time.


Unfortunately, the situation has not changed significantly and the relationship between citizens of a particular religion with policemen of the other religion remains more or less the same. We need to examine minority fears regarding the behaviour of the police keeping these ‘facts’ in view. Is the current behaviour of the police and the reaction of the minorities just an extension of the earlier trend? Is the Muslim perception regarding the police based on certain realities or is their behaviour too responsible? Why are the perceptions of Hindus and Muslims about the Indian Police so diametrically opposed to each other? Muslims in India consider the police as their enemy; the Hindus see them as friends and protectors. The answers to these questions have to be sought in the behaviour of the police combatting communal riots, the representation of minorities in the police, and conflicting expectations of different segments of society in any given situation.
We should first analyse the efforts of the police to quell incidents of communal violence. Like with any other law and order problem, police efforts to cope with the situation can also be divided into many stages. Collection of intelligence and preventive actions – detention of anti-social and communal elements, execution of bonds, instilling fear in the minds of mischief-mongers through show of force, and diffusing tension through reconciliatory measures, form the first stage of police strategy.


The second stage of police action begins with the eruption of violence. This includes actual use of force – lathi-charge, firing, arrests, imposition of curfew and extension of protection to the victims of violence. The third and final stage involves measures like investigation and prosecution of riot cases, rehabilitation of riot victims, necessary arrangements to ensure that there is no recurrence of communal violence and rebuilding of confidence among the people.
The neutrality of police behaviour and its relationship with members of different communities can be understood better only after analysing police actions during the above three stages. It is basically the overall behaviour of the police in situations of communal strife which pushes members of a minority community, like the Muslims, into viewing it as an enemy.
I was stunned to discover that in most major communal riots in the country, Muslims were the worst sufferers, both in terms of loss of life and property. Often, the percentage of Muslim casualties was more than 60% of the total. Their losses in terms of property were in similar proportion. Given these facts, it is not unnatural to expect that the law enforcing agencies would react in a manner commensurate with this reality.
Unfortunately, the real picture is quite different. Even in riots where the number of Muslims killed was many times more than the Hindus, it was they who were mainly arrested, most searches were conducted in their houses, and curfew imposed in a harsher manner in their localities. This observation holds good for even those riots where almost all killed were Muslims, e.g., Ahmedabad (1969), Bhiwandi (1970) or Bhagalpur (1989). This phenomenon can be better understood through the accompanying table.

Arrests and Casualties Hindu Muslim
Bhiwandi Riots Arrested in cognisable/
(1970) substantive offences 21 901
Casualties 17 59

Meerut Riots (1982) Arrested in cognisable/
upto15 September substantive offences 124 231
Casualties 2 8



Similarly, Muslims are often at the receiving end during house searches. The general pattern during a communal riot is that a Muslim mohalla is cordoned off with the help of the army or para-military forces after which the houses are searched indiscriminately. Such acts only result in injuring the pride of the entire community. What is more disturbing is the mind-frame of the civil and police administration. While the curfew is enforced with all strictness in the Muslim localities, it is virtually confined to the main roads in Hindu areas, with normal activity in the lanes and by-lanes remaining unaffected.
In interviews with the riot victims of Ahmedabad, Meerut, Bombay and Allahabad, this single factor came across as the most important in explaining Muslim anger towards the police. This complaint of discrimination was more bitter in areas of adjoining Hindu and Muslim residential townships. Further, the experience of curfew was different for the poor residents of slum areas belonging to the two communities. Most houses lack basic facilities such as drinking water and lavatories. The Muslims invariably complained that while they were not permitted to move out of their houses to fetch water from public taps, which happen to be the main source of water supply in such areas, the Hindus were rarely subjected to such restrictions.


An analysis of the number of victims of police firing in communal riots reveals a similar trend. Normally, Muslims suffer the brunt of police firing. The table below shows that Muslims suffer differentially in police firing even in those riots where they have already suffered far more than Hindus in the violence.

Number of persons killed in police firing
Place Hindu Muslim
Bhiwandi (1970) nil 9
Firozabad (1972) nil 6
Aligarh (1978) nil 7
Meerut (1982) nil 6

It is not difficult to identify the reasons behind the discriminatory behaviour of the police. The conduct of an average policeman is guided by the same predetermined beliefs and misconceptions which influence the mind of an average Hindu. Not unlike his average co-religionist, an average Hindu policeman too believes that Muslims by nature are generally cruel and violent. In the course of my study, I spoke to a large number of policemen of various ranks. Most held the view that apart from being cruel and violent, Muslims were untrustworthy, anti- national, easily influenced by a fanatical leadership, and capable of rioting at the slightest provocation. Further, most policemen believed that riots are initiated by the Muslims. Even when confronted with evidence that it was not in the interest of Muslims to start a riot, the arguments rarely changed.


It stands to reason that since policemen are convinced of the mischievous role of Muslims in riots, they rarely entertain doubts regarding the modalities required to check them. They believe that the only way to control riots is to crush the mischief mongering Muslims. Instructions from the state government or senior police officials to deal firmly and ruthlessly with the rioters are interpreted in a prejudiced and biased way. Being firm and ruthless with rioters is interpreted as firmness and ruthlessness towards Muslims, arrests means arrests of Muslims, search means search of Muslim houses, and police firing means firing on Muslims.
Just how strongly the subconscious is affected by the prejudices and predetermined beliefs we hold, and the degree to which our conduct is influenced by them, can be discerned from the actions of policemen during communal riots. Even in situations where Muslims were at the receiving end from the very outbreak of rioting or where the killing of Muslims was totally one-sided, the police did not hesitate in claiming that the Muslims had caused the riot. Even subsequently, after it was established that the Muslims had suffered most, they continued to argue that Muslims were responsible for the outbreak of riots.
In my conversations with some of the policemen posted in Bhagalpur (1989) and Bombay (1992-93), it became clear that their perception about Muslims as violent and cruel was so deeply embedded in their psyche that even after admitting the disproportionate destruction of Muslim life and property, they continued to ‘discover’ many ‘reasons’ to dismiss the suggestion that the ‘naturally non-violent and pious Hindus’ could in any way have been responsible.
It is this psychology that governs police reactions during communal strife. While combatting riots, they look for friends among Hindus and foes among Muslims. It is a common sight in the towns of North India that outside forces sent to control communal tensions make their lodging arrangements in temples, dharmashalas and parks in Hindu localities or the space available in Hindu homes and shops. When shops are shut during curfew, food, tea and snacks are supplied to them by Hindu homes. Members of the majority community, who in normal times may maintain a distance from the police just like members of the minority communities, suddenly perceive policemen as friends. This is their ‘natural’ expectation from a ‘friendly’ police – that it will not use force against them. Whenever the police has used force against Hindus, they have reacted in amazement and behaved as though cheated.


The first information report (fir) lodged by Ajit Dutta, dig, during the Bhagalpur riots (1989), candidly underscores this mentality. He writes about the dismay and anger expressed by a mob of law-breaking Hindus when confronted by the police. Obviously, for them this was just not done. This reminds me of a similar experience at Gadiwan Tola in Allahabad (1980). I warned a Hindu mob that we would open fire if they did not disperse. The crowd refused to take the warning seriously believing it was a joke. Subsequently, when they heard the order to open fire, there was the unambiguous reaction of disbelief and surprise.
How far this deeply entrenched perception of Muslims as being solely responsible for riots and strictness towards them as the only way to quell a riot affects, the reaction of a policeman may be illustrated by the example of Hashimpura, where the savagery and horrifying lack of professionalism of the police became a matter of national shame.
The Meerut riots (1987) were unprecedented in the toll of human life and for the long period of continued and unabated violence. The magnitude of the riots can be gauged by the fact that the services of about 50 gazetted police officers and magistrates along with more than 70 companies of PAC, para-military forces and army had to be pressed into ser-vice. The policemen deployed here harboured all the above-mentioned beliefs and prejudices. When their round-the-clock vigil failed to control the violence, some of them went berserk.


Fully convinced that the only way to quell riots in a civilised society was by teaching the Muslims a lesson, one section of the PAC picked up more than two dozen Muslims from Hashimpura. They were transported in police trucks and killed at two places in Ghaziabad. I was SP Ghaziabad at the time and after receiving the information registered two cases against the PAC. The cases were handed over to the Uttar Pradesh cid and after eight years of investigations a charge sheet was reportedly filed against the erring personnel of the PAC.
Why should the PAC have committed such a detestable act? I talked to a number of policemen deployed in Meerut in this period during my tenure as sp Ghaziabad (1985-88) as well as during the course of my study. An understanding of the psychology of these men may help us better appreciate the relationship between the police and members of the minority communities.
Most of the policemen posted in Meerut thought that the riots were a result of Muslim mischief. They also believed that Meerut had become a mini-Pakistan because of Muslim intransigence; that it was necessary to teach the community a lesson in order to establish permanent peace in the city. They were deeply affected by rumours which suggested that Hindus in Meerut were totally vulnerable to Muslim attacks.


Instances like Hashimpura only worsen the already strained relationship between Muslims and the police. We find that some riots did start with a Muslim attack on the police. Often, in a surcharged atmosphere, the presence of police angers people. For instance, reacting to the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, angry mobs of Muslims in different cities initially chose the police rather than the Hindus as a target. There are many other examples of communal rioting in which trouble started as a clash between the police and Muslims and only subsequently turned into a Hindu-Muslim conflict. The Idgah incident in Moradabad (1980) is a case in point.
The clearest reflection of the hostile relationship between Muslims and the police can be witnessed in the behaviour of the police entering a Muslim locality during communal tensions. The briefing, preparation and weaponry of the police party before entering a Muslim locality for arrests, searches or even normal patrolling is such that it thinks it is entering enemy territory. I have encountered many such groups and invariably found them comprising of people full of apprehension and fear. Their behaviour is not inexplicable. It is necessary for them to be alert, as they could be the target of attack. Who is responsible for this feeling of distrust and enmity? Perhaps, the seeds are to be found in the terms ‘we and they’ used by police officials for Hindus and Muslims during conferences organised to devise ways and means to deal with a communal situation.


The reporting of facts, the investigation into and prosecution of those involved in communal riots, are other aspects where a clear communal bias in police behaviour can be discerned. Facts are reported at various levels. Intelligence reports prepared at the police station to be sent to government and senior police officials are normally affected by this bias. For example, a list of habitually communal agitators, maintained at various police levels in Uttar Pradesh, is dominated by Muslim names. Even during the days when Hindu communal forces were active in the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation, it was difficult to find the name of Hindu inciters in the list. Perhaps the same perception which holds that to be communal is the prerogative of the Muslims was at work here.
The damage this bias does to police professionalism can be understood from the incidents that led to the destruction of the Babri mosque. It is evident from the chargesheet filed by the CBI that the demolition of the mosque was the result of a well-planned conspiracy. However, none of the intelligence agencies actually discovered this fact before 6 December 1992.
A heinous example of this bias in reporting facts is available from Bhagalpur (1989). 116 Muslims were killed in Logain village on 27 October 1989. This brutal massacre was enacted by the Hindus of Logain and other neighbouring villages. Logain stands 26 kilometers from the district headquarters of Bhagalpur, with the police station only 4 kms away at Jagdishpur. The Muslims killed were buried in the fields. The 65 Muslim survivors went to many places, including Bhagalpur town, and reported this ghastly incident. Details were published in local and national newspapers. Despite this, the district and police administration of Bhagalpur continued to deny any such incident till a police party led by dig Ajit Dutta dug out some bodies from the fields on 8 December1989.


The Justice D.P. Madon Commission which enquired into the riots of 1970 at Bhiwandi-Jalgaon cited similar examples of bias in reporting. His analysis about the failure of the police to take effective measures at Jalgaon, even after receiving the report of Bhiwandi troubles, is scathing: ‘The real reason for the inadequacy of the measures taken by the authorities was the communal bent of mind of some officers and incompetence of others. Unfortunately, SP S.T. Raman appears to have possessed a communal bent of mind and perhaps a pro-Jan Sangh bias. As shown by some of his own reports and his notings on the reports of Inspector Sawant, incharge of the Jalgaon city police station, he fully realised the seriousness of the situation. He, however, chose to turn a blind eye to it and even to mislead the government and the IGP about the true state of affairs in his report dated 29th March 1970.’
The commission found a similar bias in the conduct of PSI Bhalerao, who did not include incidents of brick-batting by Hindus in the records of the police station. The officials of the intelligence department displayed a similar bias. PSI Badgoojar sent an entirely false report to DIG (Int.) that the riot was caused by Muslims throwing burning torches on Hindu houses.
Investigating agencies too are afflicted by a communal bias while looking into riot cases. There is the classic case of Hashimpura, Meerut, cited earlier, in which the Uttar Pradesh cid took eight years to complete its investigation. Another example relates to the cases registered during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. In most of these situations, the police organisations failed to book the culprits.
The role of the special investigation squad, set up to investigate the riot cases of Bhiwandi, was focussed on by the Madon Commission as a glaring example of communal bias. The squad’s effort to establish the theory of a Muslim conspiracy was ridiculed by the commission, finding it totally untenable. The commission highlighted many examples of investigators trying to fabricate evidence against Muslims and shielding Hindu culprits. It also cited many instances of tampering with official records in a communally biased manner.


The same communal bias on the part of state agencies is evident in their treatment of arrested persons. In any civilized society it is a well-established norm that once a person is taken into custody, it becomes the duty of the state to protect his life and provide him facilities to which he is entitled as part of his human rights. Unfortunately, there are numerous instances when the basic human rights of persons under custody are violated by police and jail officials, solely because of their communal bias. Nowhere is evidence of this bias better described than in the Justice Joseph Vithayathal Commission of Inquiry Report on the Tellicherry Disturbances (1971).
How one wishes that the above examples were simply aberrations and exceptions, and not reflective of the general behaviour of our law enforcing agencies.

Human Rights Features

March 2002

Gujarat riots point to need for police reform
“Where the whole society has opted for a certain colour in [sic] a particular issue”, admitted Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Prashant Chandra Pande to an interviewer from a web magazine, “it’s very difficult to expect the policemen to be totally isolated and unaffected”.
Mr Pande was defending the largely sectarian response of his police force, which has been charged with the task of putting down revenge killings by Hindus in the state of Gujarat. The killings began after a Muslim mob torched a train carrying Hindu activists returning from Ayodhya – the northern Indian town where the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu right-wing group, has laid claim to a piece of land on which a mosque previously stood. The VHP and its affiliated groups destroyed the mosque in 1992 in an attempt to construct a temple at the site.
This reasoning offered by an official of the rank of Police Commissioner indicates the extent to which sectarian prejudices have seeped into the police system. The bias shown by the police was ignored, and at times even endorsed, by a chauvinistic state government that took its time deploying the police, the Army and paramilitary forces, and which refused to entertain charges of inaction.
Members of the state administration, notably Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, sought to justify the raging violence with remarkable statements such as, in view of the Muslim attack on Hindus on the train entering Gujarat, the reaction of the Hindus was “understandable”. The police force had not demonstrated bias, he claimed, adding that the state had not inhibited the police and Army from stepping in to control the violence. All in all, he concluded, the government had not erred, the rioting had been brought “under control”, and the state administration should be commended for the “fact” that it had managed to control the spread of violence within three days.
That more than 500 people have died in the rioting so far has not appeared to stir a sense of accountability. As an elected representative in the world’s second largest democracy, acceptance of responsibility was required – and not simply for when the revenge attacks began but in the first instance when the train was set on fire at Godhra railway station. By all accounts, the mob had clearly been waiting for the train and was armed. The obviously volatile situation warranted a prompt dispatch of police personnel and preparations for follow-up action. No preventive action was taken.
The state administration was also either inexcusably unprepared for or, more likely, wilfully blind to the inevitability of retribution.
As people went on a rampage, setting fire to Muslim homes and business establishments, obstructing fire engines, and refusing to offer shelter to Muslim neighbours, the police in numerous instances either took no action, or reached the spot only after the damage had been done. The Army and paramilitary forces meanwhile stood by, waiting for deployment orders that came too late. In some cases, police officials claimed they had received instructions from state government officials not to intervene.
The handling of the riots in Gujarat bears a disturbing resemblance to police and State behaviour in previous communal riots. On 31 October 1984, armed mobs fell upon Delhi’s Sikh community following Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards. The attacks began that same day. However, the Army was called out only the next evening. In its reply to an inquiry commission, the Army claimed that the government took too long to issue deployment orders. The Army affidavit also stated that it was deployed in the less affected southern and central districts of Delhi. The government, for its part, placed the onus on the Army. A (now-infamous) statement of the slain prime minister’s son encapsulated the pervasive attitude within the government. “When a banyan tree falls,” Rajiv Gandhi stated, “the earth is bound to tremble”.
The State’s abdication of its responsibility to protect minorities is demonstrated most clearly by the behaviour of its police. The sectarian bias of the Indian police as well as its politicisation is not a new phenomenon. The police force is regarded as the handmaiden of the political establishment, to be used to advance and protect the interests of the party in power.
Its sectarian approach also has a long history. As Vibhuti Narain Rai, former Inspector General (Border Security Force), now with the Uttar Pradesh state Police, noted in a 1999 article, communal overtones coloured police perceptions of citizens as well as the community’s perception of the police as far as back as the pre-Partition days. A police officer, Hindu or Muslim, adds Rai, “continued to be looked upon primarily as a protector of his own community.”
Rai undertook a study on police neutrality during communal riots, in which he found that the relationship between the police and Muslim citizens in most parts of the country was “inimical” and that “community perception of the police in situations of communal tension was that of an enemy”. In most major communal riots in the country, according to Rai’s findings, Muslims suffered the most, “both in terms of life and property”. Additionally, he found that “even in riots where the number of Muslims killed was many times more than the Hindus, it was they who were mainly arrested, most searches were conducted in their houses, and curfew imposed in a harsher manner in their localities. This observation holds good for even those riots where almost [all those] killed were Muslims” (emphasis in original).
Now, thanks to stubborn resistance to reform, the nation’s consciousness has been marred by images of helpless citizens, under siege of their fellow countrymen, imploring the police to come to their aid.
More than half a century after Independence, the Police Act of 1861 -- an instrument of British colonial rule -- still regulates the operation of the Indian police force. The current public perception of the Indian Police Service is in large part due to the structure of the 1861 Act. Attempts were made by some NGOs to expedite the process of police reforms in India. These efforts, however, met with little cooperation from the government or the police force.
Policing in India consequently remains plagued by political interference, a lack of basic training, the virtual absence of accountability and a poor public image. Brutality has become endemic in police work. The general public believes that the police are more likely to harass them than help them, and therefore rarely seek police assistance. The police force, on the other hand, must contend with low pay, poor working and living conditions and high levels of stress.
On 15 November 1977, the Government of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs appointed a National Police Commission (NPC) to examine all aspects of the Indian Police Service and to “re-define the role, duties, powers and responsibilities of the police”. From 1979 to 1981, the NPC made numerous far-reaching and promising recommendations concerning the functions, procedures and perceptions of the police force in India and the Indian system of justice in general. The NPC produced a total of eight reports; the eighth and concluding report proposed a new Police Act to replace the Police Act of 1861. Now almost 20 years after the publication of the NPC’s concluding report, the state of the Indian police remains as before. India’s state and union governments show no signs of implementing any of the recommendations.
One of the most notable efforts to promote police reform was made by former Uttar Pradesh police chief Prakash Singh. In the case of Prakash Singh vs Union of India (writ petition 310 of 1996), Singh called on the government to implement the recommendations of the NPC and the National Human Rights Commission. Four specific issues were raised in the petition: (1) creation of a State Security Commission; (2) adoption of a fixed tenure for the police chief; (3) separation of the law and order and investigative branches of the police force; and (4) introduction of a new Police Bill.
In the Prakash Singh case, the Supreme Court ordered the Government of India to establish a Sub-Committee, headed by Julio Ribeiro, to examine the main themes of NPC’s recommendations. The terms of the Sub-Committee were detailed in MHA Memo No. 11018/1/98-PMA dated 25 May 1998. Some NGOs worked with the committee to review and perfect the NPC recommendations. Four years after the formation of the Ribeiro Committee, however, no tangible results are in sight. The Supreme Court, having completed its hearings on the petition over a year-and-a-half ago, has reserved its judgement.
Hard questions need to be asked in the wake of the Gujarat tragedy: hard questions about the character – and future – of a democracy that permits the blatant and consistent disregard of the rule of law by its own law enforcement agencies. Serious consideration must be given to the NPC reports and recommendations – this is a seemingly obvious point of departure, but one that has surprisingly found no mention either in government circles or in the media. It would constitute the first step toward the reconceptualisation of the Indian police as a protective force that can be relied on and expected to provide safety to persons under threat, regardless of their religious status or political preferences. To have a citizen plead with the police to come and save his life is a disgrace to the democratic culture that Indians lay claim to.

- Human Rights Features

Torchbearers Of Hate

Book Review
by Patwant Singh
http://www.asianageonline.com 3/11/2002
In the context of Hindu-Muslim riots, a short but significant Hindi novel, Curfew in the City, by Vibhuti Narain Rai, published in 1988, provides valuable insights. In normal circumstances it might have gone unnoticed, but for the fact that Vibhuti Rai was - and still is - a serving police officer of integrity and strong convictions who as Senior Superintendent of Police in Allahabad in 1980, had handled communal rioting there. The experience made him embark on his novel whose story - covering just three days - is centered on a Muslim family in an Allahabad caught up in the frenzy of a Hindu-Muslim riot. Another reason why Curfew attracted attention was that since its theme covers more than those three days, the book - as C. M. Naim explains in his Foreword - earned a fatwa from Shri Ashok Singhal, the Secretary-General of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Not surprisingly, he had not even bothered to read the book, for he advised Mr. Rai to resign from the government service before publishing his book.

What is more, because an Allahabad journalist wanted to make a feature film based on Curfew in the City, Singhal threatened to burn down any cinema house that would dare to show the proposed film. Considering the large-scale arson in Gujarat over the last several days, not just of properties but of men, women and children as well, Mr. Singhal and his followers are no pushovers when it comes to torching properties and people. So the producer with remarkable prescience dropped the film project.

The English translation of the book was published in 1998 which I read, before meeting Rai. By that time he had spent a year studying the role of the police during communal riots, with special emphasis on the rampant communalism in the subcontinent, and its ugliest manifestation, the communal riot. I found his analysis and assessments informed and incisive, and was impressed by the fact that the National Police Academy had given him a fellowship and funded his research. This goes to prove that the communal virus has neither affected all Indians, nor everyone of a particular community. Have the remarkable findings of his study been used in a handbook for the police to prevent tragedies such as Gujarat’s from occurring? Given the degree to which the authorities suborned arson and mass murder there, it could also be one way of making it more difficult for politicians to prevent the police from carrying out its responsibilities.

Of particular interest are Rai’s clarifications on who suffers most in Hindu-Muslim riots. In his Afterword on the anatomy of the "most terrible riot" in Ahmedabad in 1969, he points out that: "According to the figures presented by the State government to the Inquiry Commission headed by Justice Jagmohan Reddy, 6742 houses or shops were burned down in that riot; out of them, only 671 belonged to the Hindus, the rest 6,071 belonged to the Muslims. The total value of the property destroyed in the riot came to Rs. 4,23,24,068: out of it the value of the property that belonged to the Hindus was Rs. 75,85,845 while the value of the property that belonged to the Muslims was Rs. 3,47,38,224. Of the 512 fatalities, 24 were Hindus, 413 were Muslims, while the remaining 75 could not be identified." He also says, "there was probably not a single riot where the percentage of the Muslim casualties to the total were less than seventy", and adds
that "in the many riots all over the country subsequent to the destruction of the mosque that percentage has in fact been above ninety." The question worth asking here is : if the terrible riot of 1969 took such a deadly toll, how is that an even worse riot was allowed to take place in the same city 33 years later?

On the psychology of the majority community Rai feels that "without fully changing it, it wouldn’t be possible to stop communal riots. Right-thinking members of the majority community will have to acknowledge that repeatedly the victims of their aggression are the members of the minority community; that the minorities have as much right to this land as they have and that during periods of communal tension, the job of the police and the army is not to take the side of the majority community but to provide protection to the minorities". He is equally straightforward and even-handed in analyzing the shortfalls of the Muslim community.

What Happened in Mau

A summary of an extensive report on the causes and action with respect to the communal riots in Mau.

Recently, during the celebrations of Dussehra and observance of Ramzan, the district of Maunath Bhanjan (more popularly known as Mau) in eastern UP, witnessed communal tensions and widespread violence. A fact finding team, consisting of Professor Rooprekha Verma (social activist and Secretary of Saajhi Duniya), Mr. Vibhuti Narain Rai (President of Saajhi Duniya, litterateur and activist on issues related to communalism) and Mr. Nasiruddin Haider Khan (journalist) visited the riot-affected areas in Mau to determine the causes of violence.

The team spoke to the victims of violence, social and political workers, ordinary public and officers of district administration. The following is a synopsis of their report – the detailed version may be found here.

Mau, home to farmers and silk saree weavers ( 80% Hindu and 20% Muslim), been a communally sensitive district, having previously suffered communal riots in 1969, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000. The shift in economic power from poor handloom weavers to big retailers and traders , after the advent of the power loom, seems to have fed the undercurrent of tension between the two communities.

Every year, during Dussehra, a Bharat Milap ritual takes place in Mau. The site of the Milap is very near the Shahi Katra Masjid in an area which has majority of Muslim population. This site has been at the eye of several controversies, including a court case, which were sorted out amicably by members of both communities. Every year, the Bharat Milap function sees a heavy security arrangement, due to high probabilities of riots and tensions.

This year, Dussehra coincided with Ramzan. The precursor to the riot, started out as a simple dispute over the use of loudspeakers and disturbance of peace on 13th October, the scheduled date for the Bharat Milap function. Some minor incidents led to some Muslim youths being arrested, who were later left off.

The Ram Lila committee were not happy with the youths being let off and fearing further trouble, postponed the Bharat Milap to 29th October. This issue would have ended here, but it seems that other organizations were fishing for such opportunities to spark further trouble. Rivalry and show of power attempts by BJP and Hindu Yuva Vahini, resulted in fresh trouble and further aggravation. Roads were blocked on 14th October in areas that are considered highly communally sensitive. Provocative sloganeering, stone throwing and firing (started by leaders of the Hindu Yuva Vahini) started the riots

The riots spread to different areas, shops and clinics were looted, property was being targeted community wise and destroyed; further, false rumour mongering and the inactivity and ineffectiveness of the police aggravated the situation.

In Salahabad, a big factory named Shimla Saree was the victim of very heavy looting and arson. A mosque near the Mau railway station was attacked. The looms and houses of Muslim weavers in Alinagar and Chhutki Rahjania were attacked. Likewise, in the Hindu dominated area in Pardahan Rana Khatoon's Rajeev Gandhi Mahavidyalaya is victim of mass scale violence.

According to official information in three days (Oct. 14, 15 & 16) eight persons died in the riots. More than 300 houses, about 300 small and big business establishment, shops and kiosks have been looted and/or damaged. The biggest losers were the Muslim weavers, as approximately 150-200 power looms were destroyed. Many looms were dug and taken away by the looters and this operation must have taken hours. These weavers are now facing starvation. Also badly hit by the riots were people who are daily wagers or have small earnings.

The extended report details all the areas attacked and destroyed during the riots.

Mau remained under open violence for more than 72 hours. Total lack of will on the part of the state was clearly visible. On the 5th day of riot police filed FIR's against about 250 persons including Mukhtar Ansari, BJP MLC Ramji Singh , Hindu Yuva Vahini Leaders Ajit Singh Chandel and Sujit Kumar Singh, BSP's ex – MLA Nasim Ahmad on the charges of inciting riots, murder, arson and destruction. The BJP has reacted vociferously on Ramji Singh's arrest and is challenging the state on this.

The media also remained partial on several occasions. The manner, in which TV Channels showed the clippings of Mukhtar Ansari by suppressing his voice, makes it clear that they wanted to give the message to their viewers that Mukhtar was at the center of the riot and he alone was responsible for the loss of Hindus' life and property. National and regional dailies like the Times of India, Hindustan Times and Indian Express also gave very biased views of the riots.


In spite of all the loss and apparent absence of humanity, there were instances of kindness and hope in substantial numbers, where several persons who saved the lives of people and challenged the rioters, like Parmhans Singh and Imtiyaz dot com who helped restore peace in Hindu and Muslim areas by taking rounds along with the residents of Keyari Tola and Dakshin Tola; in the Chandpura grain market, Comrade Wasiullah Hasan stood in front of looters, saying that the shops could be damaged only after taking his life. In Salahabad, Singhasan Yadav helped a Muslim escape from the rioters. Some Muslims guarded the Kaali Temple in Malik tahirpura and shops of Hindus in Ibrahim Market.

These gestures are very important for all those who trust in humanity. The initiative of these people proves that a little bit of courage by civic society is sufficient to abating such riots.

Mau Riot 2005 : Second report by Saajhi Duniya
MAU RIOTS: A REPORT

Prof. Rooprekha Verma
Vibhuti Narain Rai &
Nasiruddin Haider Khan

you can find this report in Hindi here.

Introduction :

There is lot of confusion in the media about the communal tension and widespread violence which began in Mau on 13-14th October 2005. Consequently “Saajhi Duniya� considered it necessary to visit Mau and acquaint itself with real situation. The first team of Saajhi Duniya visited Mau on the 20th October when the city was under total curfew. Again on Oct. 30 & 31 the representatives of Saajhi Duniya went to Mau. This team comprised of Prof. Roop Rekha Verma (social activist and Secretary of Saajhi Duniya), Mr. Vibhuti Narain Rai (President of Saajhi Duniya, litterateur and activist on issues related to communalism) and Mr. Nasiruddin Haider Khan (journalist). Mr. Jai Prakash Dhumketu (litterateur and activist) from Mau also joined the group. This team not only visited the riot-affected areas in Mau but also inquired into the causes of violence. The team spoke to the victims of violence, social and political workers, ordinary public and officers of district administration. The following is an attempt to express in words our efforts of 3 days in understanding the latest riot in Mau.

Mau (also called Maunath Bhanjan) has been a communally sensitive district. Previously it was part of Azamgarh. Even at that time Maunath Bhanjan used to witness incidents of communal violence after every few years. The population of Mau is 1853997. The urban population is 360369 and the rural population is 1493628. Within this population around 80.50% are Hindus, out of which 90% population is rural and approximately 10% is urban. Mau district has less than 20% Muslim population. Out of Muslim population 40% is
rural and 60% is urban.

Tana-Bana (Economic Structure) of Mau :

Besides agriculture, Maunath Bhanjan has been famous for silk Sarees. It has been considered a big center of sarees. In the era of handloom most of the workers producing sarees were Muslim. Even among Muslims mainly backward castes were doing this work. In past this trade has repeatedly suffered from violence in riots. Consequently Muslims have been suffering economic loss again and again. With the entry of power loom the character of this trade slightly altered. Powerlooms required more money. . Gradually Hindus
also entered this trade and it is said that their number in this trade is substantial now. Not only this, the number of big Hindu retailers has also increased a lot.

Presently there are 75 thousand powerlooms and about 60 thousand of them are located in the city. Daily about 1.5 to 2 lakh sarees are made. Several members of a family work on the same loom and on average 2 sarees are woven in a day. These days the saree trade of Mau is passing through economic slump and hard competition. The sarees of
Surat have started giving tough competition to Mau sarees. As compared to the latter, the former are lighter and look more attractive and have greater shine. Surat sarees are a little cheaper too. As a result the sarees of Surat have started replacing the sarees of Mau in the markets of Mau and the adjoining areas where Mau sarees earlier had monopoly. The weavers of Mau are not able to meet the challenge of this competition. The wages of weavers have been reduced. The payment for weaving a plain saree used to be Rs.80/- but now it has been reduced to Rs.40/- only. Likewise, the payment for making a saree with “Buta� (all over design) has come down from Rs.100/- or Rs.150/- to Rs. 80/- or 85/-. This is the collective earning of 3 or 4 persons in a family who work on the loom and not of a single person.

Moreover, the weavers of Surat are not dependent on others for material, whereas those of Mau have to depend on outside traders for material. The cost of the material also depends on the sweet will of traders. Supply of electricity is another big problem for the weavers. Electricity is available for maximum 8 hours in a day. The weavers have to somehow labour within these 8 hours to make production sufficient for their livelihood. The big traders have their own generator which the smaller ones can not afford (despite the other difficulties which the weavers faced in the curfew, they were happy that they had electricity for full day.) Another important change in this trade has come in the last 1 or 2 years only. After powerlooms now Chinese Machines are also entering this trade. This machine is used for embroidery which was earlier done manually and the cost of a Chinese machine is around 15 lakh. Due to this machine on the one hand the number of employable workers has drastically reduced, on the other hand it has presented a crisis of existence before small traders. Although just now the number of these machines is very small, in future it may create a great crisis. Presently there are about 25 such
machines in Mau.

Previous History of Riots :

The history of riots in Mau is old. As per available information, in 1969, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000 Mau has been victim of riots. In 1984 during riots even an officer of district administration had lost his life. Another thing to underline in this context is that after the demolition of Babri Masjid good sense and timely intervention by CPI leaders prevented
any violent incident in Mau.

Background of the Recent Riot :

Before understanding the background of this riot it is necessary to know another fact. In Mau the most important programme out of all the activities held during Dushehra, is Bharat Milap. During Bharat Milap a ‘ritual’ is performed which is important although it appears ridiculous and due to this ritual this programme has always been a cause of worry for police and administration. The site of Bharat Milap is adjacent to the Shahi Katra Masjid in an area which has majority of Muslim population. It is said that several years ago there was a controversy regarding the construction of a gate in the mosque. The controversy reached courts too. Later people from both the community deliberated over the issue and decided that when the chariot of Bharat Milap would enter the site of the programme, it would strike at the gate of the mosque thrice. Similarly the ‘ritual’ is that on the occasion of Mohharam Muslim would climb up and down three steps of Sanskrit Pathshala which is situated in the neighbouring area. Ultimately it amounts to the appeasement of the ego of both the communities !

Every year organizing Bharat Milap becomes a great challenge to administration. Always heavy security arrangement is made on this occasion and the administration remains tense until the programme is over.

This year Bharat Milap coincided with Ramzan. The day fixed for Bahart Milap was 13th October. The yatra of Bharat Milap starts late evening and reaches the site of the final programme next early morning. During this time the programme of singing Birha , a popular folk form of songs continues on this site. On the evening of 13th October Birha was being sung on loudspeakers on the above mentioned site adjacent to Shahi Katra Masjid. This was the time of reciting the Taravih in the mosque. The reciters of Taravih objected to the use of loudspeakers because of being disturbed due to loud sound. On the request of an elderly man loudspeakers stopped but after a short while they again started blurting. On this some Muslim youth snatched away the wires of loudspeakers. Police caught these young man and locked them up in police station.

During the whole episode the required effective security arrangements were absent. Some people reached police station after the news of the arrest of the young man. Under pressure the arrested youth were let off. Ram Lila Committee did not like the release of the Muslim youth. After sometime some members of Ram Lila Committee, BJP MLC
Mr. Ramji Singh, some other leaders of BJP and officers of administration reached the site for talks. Ram Lila Committee felt that in such an atmosphere the security of those who would come to see Bharat Milap could not be guaranteed, it was not possible to organize the function. After discussions with the administration the Committee decided to postpone the Bharat Milap function to October 29. The whole controversy seemed to have ended at this point. But the conflict had really not been resolved. Some organizations, it seemed, were looking for an opportunity like this. Rivalry of BJP ,established representative of Hindus and Hindu Yuva Vahini , an organization of Yogi Aditya Nath , trying to capture the space occupied by BJP was also responsible for fresh trouble. This was demonstrated by re-starting loudspeakers on 13th October.

Next day (14th October) morning workers of Hindu Yuva Vahini and Hindu Maha Sabha blocked the road near Sanskrit Pathshala which is near Shahi Katra Masjid and the site of Bharat Milap under the leadership of Ajit Singh Chandel, Puneet Singh Chandel, Sujit Kumar Singh etc. against the postponement of Bharat Milap. The choice of the place for blocking the road was sufficient to indicate the plan of confrontation and conflict. This place is considered highly communally sensitive. The residence of Chandel is also situated
on the tri-section where the road was blocked. The demonstrators were making allegations of cowardice and negligence of Hindu interest by Ram Lila Committee and BJP leaders. To heat up the atmosphere the crowd was shouting very provocative slogans. Police failed to intervene effectively at this juncture . After this as usual the riot started. Slogan shouting, stone pelting and firing… ! The firing was started by the Chandel brothers who are leaders of Hindu Yuva Vahini. Several got injured. In fact violence started from
this incident.

Regime of Violence :

The bleeding Muslim boys who were injured from the firing by Chandel brothers were carried to hospital in open rickshaw trolley and they past through the areas of which were mostly Muslim inhabited. The display of these injured boys added fuel to fire. The public thought that there was mass scale blood shed and they took these boys as dead. After this, agitated Muslims came on streets. Shops owned by Hindus in Sadar Chowk and Rauza area were targeted. Some persons were killed also. About a dozen shops in Sadar Chowk, Rauza and Kaudi Building were looted. The looted shops included Typing Shop of Jagdish Rai, Clinic of a Dentist Dr. Vijay Odhekar, Saree Shop of Ram Gopal,
Gupta radios, Raman Electrical Works, Sari Shop of IC Kedia, Cloth Shop of Dina Nath Agarwal, Jaiswal Vastralya, Sindhi Bidi, Hardware shop of Triloki, four shops on Chandpura road (in which three belong to Muslims), office of Jamia Ahle Hadith, Jadi Booti Shop of Vikram, few shops adjacent to Munshipura overbridge etc.

The shops looted in these areas largely belong to Hindus. Some of these shops are very big and old. The estimate is that they must have suffered loss of several lacs. Out of these shops three were totally burnt and damaged. It is worth attention that dozens of Hindus’ shops near these looted/burnt shops are totally safe and untouched. The damage seems to be very selective. The rumour of looting and desertion in Sindhi colony remained strong for a few days but it turned out to be false and baseless. During relaxation in curfew all the shops in this area were found to be open and full of goods.

According to some a few shops among the looted/damaged shops were under the controversy of tenancy and perhaps some persons took advantage of the prevailing
chaos and settled the matter in this way. In one of the above mentioned areas a soap godown in Goenka Bhawan behind Chandel’s residence was looted. During this time police did not act in the way in which they should have. They remained mostly inactive and ineffective. False rumour of massacre of Hindus spread. It was also widely rumored that there property had been completely destroyed and there daughters were kidnapped. These rumours were baseless but sufficient to ignite violent reaction. After this, in the Hindu
dominated new areas in the eastern parts of the city and in some other areas violence, loot, arson and destruction started and continued for several days in different stages. In these areas very selectively the shops, houses and factories owned by Muslim were targeted. Further off Sadar Chowk in the Hindu dominated Bal Nekatan a kiosk of a Muslim was burnt while three shops of Ahmad Beej Bhandar were looted and in Ali Building in Sahadatpura area several Shops owned by Muslims like Sansar Electronics, Jeans
Corner, Jeans Collection and Sana Duptta Centre were looted or burnt. This is a very big market and a large number of shops owned by Hindus adjacent to the looted
shops were fully safe. Not only this, during the relaxation of curfew if one looked at the large number of open shops, one could notice only with great difficulty that some isolated shops in the midst of these open shops were totally ruined. Very few Muslim shops remained intact in this area. The information is that to save these shops the owners paid heavy fee to the local goons.

On the Ghazipur tri-section two pure vegetarian restaurants, namely, Girhast Plaza and Paris Plaza were victims of damage and loot. The glasses on their exterior were totally damaged. Girhast Plaza was looted also although the rioters could not loot or damage them very heavily. The owners of both these restaurants are Muslims. Further ahead of Ghazipur tri-section on the by pass road Habib hospital of Dr. Asghar Ali was damaged and his new scorpio jeep and a motor cycle were charred in arson. Dr. Asghar Ali some
how managed to save his life and fled away. Further up on this road in Brahmsthan , a big complex including Ahmad Beej Bhandar was extensively looted and then set
to flames. In our visit on the 20th we saw smoke still billowing from this complex although it was 5th day of violence in Mau.

On Salahabad turn a big factory named Shimla Saree of famous Haji Mukhtar was victim of very heavy loot and arson. Three big computerized Chinese machines, about
twenty thousand sarees, computer, generator, fridge, furniture all were burnt or looted and estimated loss is of about 1 crore. Without seeing this factory it is difficult to imagine the loss. It is a matter of great surprise such a big factory and its costly gadgets had no insurance cover.

After this incident a big crowd of Muslims reached this area and indulged in loot and arson in about a dozen shops owned by Hindus in the vicinity. This arson burnt tractor, van and motor cycle etc. These shops, by and large, had the investment of small capital. Two or three shops among these were damaged also. According to some persons who spoke to us, during this violence some Hindus called Mukhtar Ansari for saving them. Even though Mukhtar Ansari reached there, violence did not stop. In the presence of Mukhtar Ansari firing took place and one person died. An FIR against Mukhtar Ansari was lodged in this case although later the complainant disowned his allegation. Now even police officers are saying tongue in cheek that the firing was not done by Mukhtar Ansari.

Further ahead of Shimla Saree factory, Modern School of Mr. Shahid and Mau Modern School of Mr. Hamid were victims of damage. Shahid and Hamid are brothers. Previously there was only one school in the partnership of both the brothers but later they set up two separate schools. Their buses were damaged and lot of other goods were burnt down. These schools are located on Salahabad turn in the midst of Hindu population. On 14th October rioters attacked a mosque near Mau Railway Station. After attacking this mosque the rioters proceeded towards another mosque adjacent to rail line. To save this mosque the Muslims from the adjoining area came forward to chase them away. These
Muslims came on the railway station. Because of their arrival although the rioters ran away but Muslims attacked the railway employees and passengers there.

One person injured in this violence died later during treatment. To quell this attack the GRP fired on the rioters as a consequence of which one Muslim boy died. The most horrifying face of this riot is Alinagar and Chhutki Rahjania. About 2 km away from Salahabad turn. These areas were targets of violence in several stages. The whole area is new habitation of Muslim weavers. Almost every house runs powerloom. The houses are made of bricks but excepting one house none has plaster on it. These weavers possess small
capital. It is said that after the events at Salahabad turn as a chain reaction these Muslim weavers’ habitations were attacked.

The first attack was made on the 14th October. Slogan shouting and stone throwing took place but as the Muslims who had come for Namaz (prayers) in the mosque of this area,
retailiated and raised alarm, the rioters ran away. The next day, that is, on October 15, Hindus from the neighbouring colony started deserting the area. Under scare and suspicion some Muslims also started fleeing.

By noon there was heavy attack on Alinagar & Chhutki Rahjania. Every one started fleeing towards the main city on the other side of the railway line leaving every thing behind. Some persons who were fleeing to save their lives fell into the hands of police and were arrested. After seeing this area the estimate is that in about 150 houses arson and loot continued for a long time. Powerlooms have been either broken or burnt down. Whatever property the houses had was looted. There are several like Nazma who had kept
jewellery and other items for the marriage of her daughter after Id and all these were looted and damaged in violence. In this area two mosque were damaged. These mosques were subjected to arson after loot. We could see the torn pieces and half burnt pieces of Quran too in the mosque and scattered outside in the fields. Residents have started returning to Alinagar but the number of such persons is still very small. By 30th October when we visited Alinagar very few members of small number of families had returned. In Chhotki Rahjania only the structure of about two dozen houses is left. Even the windows and doors alongwith the frames had been taken out by the vandals. From some houses entire powerlooms have been uprooted and taken away. The hand pumps and toilets are broken too. When we asked the persons working in the adjoining fields and the boys playing
cricket in the fields nearby who the owners of these houses were they were not ready to speak out and feigned ignorance. Even after 15 days of violence the owners have not dared to return.

Besides these areas, on Gorakhpur- Varanasi road the Narja Filling Station owned by Burhanuddin Khan was looted and burnt. Nothing in this petrol pump was found intact. Likewise, in the Hindu dominated area in Pardahan Rana Khatoon’s Rajeev Gandhi Mahavidyalaya is victim of mass scale violence. Nothing is left safe in this school. Gate, the doors, windows and even the iron grills have been taken away from this school. The things which the looters could not take away, have been damaged and reduced to ashes. The adjacent house belonging to Simran Khan also presented similar picture. It is obvious that all this work could not be done in one or two hours. It was clearly done in a leisurely way and seems to be the handiwork of those who perhaps had full confidence that the administration would not interfere. It is surprising that all this violence was perpetrated for several
hours in an area which is only a few steps away from the residence of the District Judge. One of the police personnel told us that Rana Khatoon is great supporter of sarva dharma sambhav and used to financially support the function of Krishna Janmashtami.

About 15 or 16 factories were looted in Tajpur New Industrial Estate. In these factories each had about four or five power looms. The rioters took away some of these power looms and the rest were consigned to fire. Excepting one, all others belonged to Muslims. In Salempur near Rampur Chakia approximately one and half dozen houses of Muslims were victims of loot and arson. The looms installed in these houses also suffered damage.

The garden of CPI leader Imtiaz Ahmad, located on the other side of the river, also suffered substantial loss. Four junk shop on by pass, A clinic of a doctor, Kanpur Machinery Stores (engine, motor, thrasher etc.), Airlight Machinery near old govt. hospital, dyeing factory in Ranveer Pura, about a dozen wholesale shops of vegetable market of Bhiti and
Azamgarh tri-section, the school of municipal chairman in Matlupur, many shops in Ratanpura market, Kasimpur, Devparva, Munshi Purva, Adari Indara, Chiriaya Kot, Ranipur etc. were targets of loot and arson. All these shops and factories belong to Muslims. One such shop belongs to a Muslim who used to supply tents and all other material for arranging Durga Puja every year. Some boys of Faidullapur badly beat up the Muslim Pradhan of Kurthi Jafarpur and he had to be admitted to hospital. From both the villages the respective
minorities have fled away.

As per the information we gathered till now, in this riot eight mosques were subjected to assault. These were looted, damaged and burnt. During our visit in one or two places some special type of slogans were also seen, e.g., ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Jai Mata Di’,’Musalmano kaatna Hinduon se sikho’. These slogans point at a certain tendency and it is essential to
understand it.

On the 5th day of riot police filed FIR’s against about 250 persons including Mukhtar Ansari, BJP MLC Ramji Singh , Hindu Yuva Vahini Leaders Ajit Singh Chandel and Sujit Kumar Singh, BSP’s ex – MLA Nasim Ahmad on the charges of inciting riots, murder, arson and destruction.

BJP leaders tried their best to encash this opportunity to gain their lost ground. The type of statements these leaders issued in the very beginning of the riot are sufficient proof. Kalyan singh (national Vice President of BJP), Keshrinath Tripathi (state president) and Lalji Tondon (Leader of opposition in UP legislature) took up the front in Lucknow. They blamed the riots on the appeasement policy of the government. They publicly spread the rumours that the members of a particular community were fleeing from place to place to save their lives.

They made Mukhtar Ansari solely responsible for the riot. Suddenly these BJP leadres beacame very active. Keshri Nath Tripathi, on his arrest while trying to enter Mau, even said that SP government is bent upon making Muslim a majority community and, He alleged, this was the reason why selectively Hindus were being massacred. Yogi AdityaNath also said similar things on being prevented from going to Mau. Such falsehoods were repeated uttered in public and such an atmosphere belief was created as if mass annihilation of Hindus was in progress.

After lot of hue and cry Mukhtar surrendered in Ghazipur in connection with some other case and police could succeed in arresting Ramji Singh much later on 2nd November 05. Before this Mukhtar and Ramji Singh were freely roaming around and police was not arresting them despite having FIR’s against them. Ramji Singh had openly dared the state to arrest him and face the consequences. After his arrest too BJP has given a tough reaction and again dared the state to face the consequences.

The Victims of Riot :

According to the official information in three days (Oct. 14,15 & 16) eight persons died in the riot. Two died on the 14th, two on 15th and 4 on 16th. One boy died in the violence but out of fear his family members buried him without getting postmortem done. Among the dead were 5 Hindus and 4 Muslims. As per official information between 14th and 29th October 37 persons were injured. As per public information there are many other injured persons who were not sent to hospitals and thus are not included in the list. (The
official lists of the dead and the injured is enclosed.) The number of those who have been arrested till 30th of October on the charges of violence or only on suspicion is 442. Of these 205 are Hindus and 237 are Muslims. A large number of people complained of police excess. In weavers colony Muslim women and men complained that police-PAC arrested people after breaking open the door late night. Among the arrested, they alleged, were minors.

Loss :

According to one estimate more than 300 houses have been victim of arson, loot and damage, about 300 small and big business establishment, shops and kiosks have
been looted or put to flames. The biggest loser is the Muslim weaver. As per the information gathered till now approximately 150-200 power looms have been devoured by the riot. Mostly these Power looms were owned by Muslims. The temerity shown by the rioters is astounding .Many looms were dug and taken away by the looters and this operation must have taken hours.These weavers are now facing starvation.

The worst hit people are those who are daily wagers or have small earnings. The atrocious condition of Mau during riot can be gauged from the fact that even after fourteen days it could not be linked with Rail service. Even after a fortnight the situation did not permit simultaneous relaxation of curfew for a couple of hours in different parts of the city. A crisis of
bread and butter was created for the common public at the time of festivals. The happiness of Diwali and Eid had evaporated from people's lives. The total loss must be in Crores.

The Role of Mukhatr Ansari :

Mukhtar Ansari is independent MLA from Mau Sadar. Any one who takes interest in the eastern U.P. must be acquainted with the activities of Mukhtar Ansari. The base of Mukhtar is Ghazipur . The general perception of common man is that Mukhtar is a brute murderer and extortionist and it is not far from the truth as his deeds in the past have been such which should invite strictest punishment from the law enforcement system.

He is accused in several cases of murder, kidnapping and ransom. He has also been to jail several times. A characteristic of Mukhtar is that he has been mostly with the ruling parties. Presently he is a supporter of Samajwadi Party (SP). During the last BSP regime he was supporter of BSP govt. In the last assembly elections Samajwadi Party had alliance with CPI. The seat of Mau Sadar was allotted to CPI. Despite this agreement the workers of SP worked for Mukhtar instead of CPI candidate. Mukhtar also campaigned for several SP candidates on the seats of neighbouring areas.

Constant focus on Mukhtar Ansari by the media gave the impression that the assaults on Hindus were made under the leadership of Mukhtar Ansari. Not only this, Mukhtar Ansari was presented by media as the main cause of violence. To establish this the electronic media, specially ‘Aaj Tak’, repeatedly showed a clipping in which Mukhtar Ansari was shown moving around in a open jeep with armed security personnel and running behind crowd. The interesting thing was that in the whole clipping the voice of Mukhtar Ansari
was missing; the clipping was mute. According to our information this CD was made by some stringers of electronic channels who were on Mukhtar Ansari’s jeep during his visit to the riot prone area.. Obviously Mukhtar Ansari must have offered them place in the jeep. Later when the actual CD was shown , it was revealed that there Mukhtar Ansari was in an entirely different role. This CD had the voice of Mukhtar too.

He was exhorting people to go back, giving instructions to send the injured to hospital and talking to police officers. The boys injured in the firing by Chandel were lying in police station and Mukhtar Ansari Sent them to hospital in his jeep. We also got the information that when violence started in the city, Mukhtar Ansari was not present there. He was seen on the streets after several hours. According to most of the persons in both the communities with whom we talked Mukhtar Ansari was trying to pacify the crowds and he also arranged to send the injured to hospitals. The people even said that on the Salahabad turn it were Hindus who called Mukhtar Ansari to save them although he had to face stone pelting and ultimately he had to run away.

Despite all this the commonly held opinion is that mere presence of Mukhtar Ansari should have encouraged the lumpen elements in Muslim community. The question is how could Mukhtar Ansari openly moved around in the city despite curfew ? The argument of Mukhtar Ansari is that he is a legislator and as a people’s representative he came on streets to quell violence. However Mukhtar Ansari has another image besides being a people’s representative and this image can have adverse affect on such occasions as in Mau.

The Role of Police and Administration:

It is common belief that the district administration of Mau used to dance at the tune of Mukhtar Ansari and the officers of his choice were appointed in Mau. Such an administration might have been good for other things but to counter communal riots in professional ways was not possible for these officers. That is why riot continued. Mau remained under open violence for more than 72 hours. Total lack of will on the part of the state was clearly visible. According to the information given to us, on 13th October two companies of PAC were available in Mau. These were the days when district panchayat elections were being held and therefore it is quite natural to believe that a big part of the available security force might have been posted in the distant areas. On 14th October after the riots started, 3 companies of PAC, 2 companies of RAF and 4 DSP’s had reached Mau. After riots, elections in Mau were also postponed and thus the force posted for elections also became available for controlling the riots. On 15th October 3 addl. Companies of PAC, 12
DSP’s and 20 Inspectors were sent to Mau. On 16th October 2 more companies of PAC were made available to Mau administration. It is clear thus that even if on 14th October Mau administration had insufficient police force, on October 15 & 16 the available police force was sufficient in the real sense of the term to control a small place like Mau.

On 14th October both Hindus and Muslims suffered in terms of life and property. But the violence on October 15 & 16 mainly affected the life and property of Muslims. Not that the administration did not have sufficient police force in fact it is an open example of the lack of will power of the state. It looked as if the organs of the state did not wish to stop violence. Only as a fallout of this attitude of the administration Alinagar, Chhotaki Rahzania, Shimla Sadiwale, Chakia, Ali Building, Khadi Store in Ranveerpura, Narza Filing center, Ahmad Beej Bhandar, Tajpur New Industrial Estate, Areas nearby Nadi Us Paar were targeted for violence after 14 October.

Hindu Yuva Vahini and Yogi Adityanath in Purvanchal :

Whatever is happening in Purvanchal is occasionally discussed but there is no serious initiative to analyse the same. For last one decade the aggressive activities of heir of Goraksha Peeth and BJP MP Yogi Adityanath to organized Hindus was clearly reflected in the riot in Mau. During the last decade the Yogi has made this entire area, specially the area known as Gorakhpur during the times of Britishers, his laboratory. The supporters of Yogi Aditya Nath used to shout slogans at the time of his political emergence,
'To live in Gorakhpur one has to chant Yogi...Yogi' (Gorakhpur men rahna hai to yogi yogi kahna hoga). As the area of his influence is expanding, this slogan is also taking new forms. Now the slogan is, 'To live in Purvanchal, One has to chant Yogi...Yogi. (Purvanchal men rahna hai to yogi yogi kahna Hai).

The maximum influence of the Yogi is in the 7 districts of Gorakhpur Division (Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar, Mahrajganj) and Basti Division (Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharthanagar). Now he is spreading his wings in Azamgarh Division. Mau is a part of this division.

The Yogi functions through different organizations which he calls cultural organizations. Included among these organizations are Hindu Yuva Vahani, Hindu Jagran Manch, Sri Ram Shakti Prakoshtha, Gorakhnath, Purvanchal Vikas Manch, Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha and Hindu Mahasabha. The main functionary of all these organizations is only Yogi Adityanath. A candidate has won the assembly elections on the ticket of Yogi’s Hindu Mahasabha from Gorakhpur Sadar and has reached the assembly as MLA. But the most vital organization for Yogi is Hindu Yuva Vahini. This organization comprises mostly unemployed youth, small level criminals and the youth struggling for identity. For them any small event involving Muslims becomes very important. As soon as they receive the information of such an event, the workers of Hindu Yuva Vahini reach there as the messengers of Yogi and later Yogi himself reaches . Most of their acts are destructive like arson, destruction of property and beating. A lively example is Mohanmundera episode in Kushinagar. Here a Muslim boy raped a Hindu girl and the girl died during treatment. After 3 days when Yogi came to know about this, he reached there with his Vahini workers. The property of all the 72 Muslims families was looted. Their houses were put to fire. Masjid was damaged. Police remained a neutral witness. There are several such examples.

If for any reason revenge could not be taken then they hold a meeting on the same spot where the event took place. They called such a meeting ‘Hindu Sangam’ or ‘Hindu Chetna Sangam’. When Yogi’s effort to go to Mau with his workers, after the riots started, did not succeed then he held a meeting at Dohri Ghat itself where he was stopped. This polarized Hindus and it affected the elections of district panchayat membership also. Not only this, it also emboldened the supporter of Yogi in Mau and the wrong message of mass scale massacre of Hindus was sent to the places outside the district. When Yogi Adityanath came to Lucknow in connection with a programme recently, he not only repeated the falsehood that Hindus were being massacred in Mau but also gave a warning of revenge. Some analyst contended that the spread of Yogi’s work is really the result of administrative inaction. Not only this, Yogi is also taking the advantages of the fact that the other political parties have abandoned the struggle for development.

The Role of Media:

In connection with the events of Mau the role of media remained partial on several occasions. The manner, in which TV Channels showed the clippings of Mukhtar Ansari by suppressing his voice, makes it clear that they wanted to give the message to their viewers that Mukhtar was at the center of the riot and he alone was responsible for the loss of Hindus' life and property. Whatever other allegations may be rightfully made against Mukhtar Ansari, the truth is that had media made public both the audio and the visual aspects of the CD, his image would have been entirely different. In print media too Mukhtar was presented as the main culprit. Although on the first day one newspaper clearly published that 'Stones were pelted on the Sadar MLA Mukhtar Ansari who reached the site of the riot to pacify the people', soon all the newspaper including this one presented him as the central cause of violence.

Not only this, whether it be Hindi newspapers or English papers, all of them published news giving the impression as if only Hindus were the victims of loss. Newspapers did not give any clear information regarding how the riots started and who started them. Moreover, for days together did not mention the names of the organizations or their leaders like Hindu Yuva Vahini, Hindu Mahasabha or BJP. Any names different from Mukhtar Ansari appeared in newspapers only after five days after riots when FIR's were filed against
them. 'The Times of India' went to the extent of giving a front page headline on October 18, Feeling of insecurity grips Hindus in Mau, giving the impression that exclusively Hindus were being targeted in the riot and they were all living under the shadow of fear. 'Indian Express' also published such news. In the Gorakhpur edition of the newspaper Dainik jagran
the situation in Mau was equated with that in Kashmir. In one news item it said that ' The days are not far when Mau city would become synonymous with Kashmir'. Another news item in this newspaper declared that 'the condition of Mau was much more dangerous than even the civil war in Kashmir'. Besides, the news items in the papers Amar Ujala, Hindustan, Hindustan Times etc. also painted biased pictures of Mau.

Lack of Intervention by Political Forces:

There was a time when Mau was a strong center of Leftists. Mau, Ghazipur, Azamgarh and Balia were the places where not only leftists had strong holds but from these places candidates of Communist Party of India used to get elected as MLAs and MPs. Today the situation is that the CPI candidate losses his deposit and person like Mukhtar Ansari gets elected. During the tense period after the demolition of Babri Masjid, the intervention by the communist leader (CPI) Imtiyaz Ahmad played substantial role in preventing violence. Even today people remember his role and say that had Imtiyaz Ahmad been in the city during riots, at least in Rouza and Chowk shops of Hindus wouldn't have been
looted. The major point is that when a party with a people oriented ideology and strong base in people's struggle loses its base, such forces occupy its space which flourish on riots and violence. Moreover, the silence and inaction on the part of civil society also is a cause of concern.

Example of Humanity:

'Had Muslims not saved them, how have Hindus in the old city survived?' This comment from a political worker is very important. In Mau there are several persons who saved the lives of people and challenged the rioters. There are quite a few in persons in this city like Haji Abdul Sattar, Abdul Samad and Haji Wakil who challenged the rioters in Sindhi Colony, or like Salim Ansari, Qamruzzaman and Haji Irfan who stopped the fanatics. On other hand there are people like Ashok Singh, who saved the Grihastn Plaza at Ghazipur tri-section from arson, Anil Rai who defended a furniture shop against looters, Hindu Landlords near Ali building who saved Noorkamal, Doctor Udai Narain Singh, who saved two lives, Ashok Gupta who gave shelter to Nine Muslims. In Indara a Muslim sheltered several Hindus, when a mob was approaching towards them, and had his fingers in tangled in the door, while closing it, chopped off by knife attack. The Hindus under his shelter remained safe and intact.

Parmhans Singh and Imtiyaz helped restore peace in Hindu and Muslim areas by taking rounds along with the residents of Keyari Tola and Dakshin Tola. Iqbal and his wife in Keyari tola saved Harizan Basti. They stood like rock in front of violent mob. Likewise a Muslim woman of Kasaitola near Paithan tola challenged the rioters. In Chandpura a Muslim defended a Hindu milk-trader and in Hussainpura Muslims saved a Khatal. In Chandpura grain market when rioters reached for arson, Comrade Wasiullah Hasan stood on their way, saying that the shops could be damaged only after taking his life. On Salahabad turn Singhasan Yadav helped a Muslim escape from the rioters. Some Muslims
guarded the Kaali Temple in Malik tahirpura and shops of Hindus in Ibrahim Market.

Inferences from the Riot:

1. The riot in Mau is entirely the result of the failure of the administration and the state.

2. This riot of Mau is the biggest and the most fearsome of all the riots, which took place here. For the first time on such large scale the rioters organized themselves and executed violence in a systematic manner. The loss has also been maximum.

3. According to the public Mau it is also for the first time that during the riot Schools and Hospitals belonging to minority community vandalized and large scale attacks on Mosques were made. This is a great cause of worry.

4. Power loom is life line of the weavers. Destruction of power looms is connected with their economic ruin. The weavers require immediate help in view of the destructions of the power looms.

5. What was limited to discourses only is now a naked truth before us. Eastern UP is sitting on the mouth of communal volcano. Anything may happen any time here-The riot in Mau and the violence in the neighboring areas clearly tell this. Just after the riot in Mau there were quick attempt to incite communal violence in Ballia, Ghazipur, Azamgarh,
Devaria, Merrut and Agra.

6. The intervention of secular forces is absolutely essential to stop this flow of communalism. The state will also have to show its willpower. Otherwise, several other Maus can occur.

7. Even in this violent situation , such individuals came forward in substantial number, who not only saved the lives of the persons of other community but also risked their own lives and frustrated the attempts of the rioters. This gestures is very important for all those, who have trust in humanity. The initiative of these people proves that a little bit of courage is
sufficient for chasing away the rioters.