Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday over the Muzaffarnagar riots, accusing it of vitiating the atmosphere ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, and promised stern action against all those found guilty.
"The BJP is out to vitiate the communal atmosphere in the state in view of the coming Lok Sabha elections and some people played an active part in the riots," an unusually aggressive chief minister told the assembly in his reply during a debate on the Muzaffarnagar riots. "The incident was a planned one to help one party gain political mileage on the situation," he said.
Training his guns on the BJP, the chief minister asked the party MLAs whether their members had not circulated objectionable material in the form of SMS and fake clippings. Akhilesh asked, "What is the guarantee that there are no more attempts to spoil the atmosphere?"
Asserting that his government had acted promptly in controlling the situation, he said it would not take any action, which is biased.
Taking a tough stand, he said officials found guilty would not be allowed to go scot-free. "An inquiry commission has already been set up and all the officials found guilty will be punished," he said, adding that rioters would also be penalised.
Terming the riots as unfortunate, he said both the communities suffered losses. "Houses of both Hindus and Muslims were gutted," he said.
In an apparent defence of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan, who is in the midst of controversy after his name figured in a sting operation, Yadav said he was aware of the reality of such things. "It is cut and paste which is called sting," he said.
A news channel aired the sting operation in which two police officers reportedly admitted delaying action to contain Muzaffarnagar riots under "political pressure". In an oblique reference to the suspension of Indian Administrative Service officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, he said it was termed as oppression, conspiracy and other things, but such decisions are taken and officials are removed from their posts routinely.
Earlier, initiating the debate in assembly on the riots, Leader of Opposition and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya alleged that it was the result of "nexus between the SP and BJP" and demanded the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into it.
Stressing that timely action could have saved several lives, Maurya said that though FIRs have been lodged against "about a dozen BJP MLAs and leaders no one has been arrested so far indicating some kind of understanding between these two parties". He demanded that Rs 25 lakhs ex-gratia should be given to the family of the scribe who lost his life in Muzaffarnagar and Rs 20 lakhs to the others.
Meanwhile, BJP's Hukum Singh against whom a case for giving inflammatory speech has also been lodged, blamed the government and administration for the riots and defended himself saying that he had spoken for only two minutes and not uttered a single objectionable word.
Singh asked for examination of his speech and said that he was ready for any punishment if the charges against him were proved right.
Questioning the suspension of the then SSP Muzaffarnagar, he demanded an inquiry by a sitting judge of the high court.
Uma Bharti of the BJP making her maiden speech in the Vidhan Sabha since her election from the Charkhari assembly seat started with praising the state government for the successful Kumbh Mela (the organising committee of the mela was led by Azam Khan).
Speaking on Muzaffarnagar, Bharti said the stand of the chief minister should be to win the trust of both the communities and he should desist from indulging in vote-bank politics and "getting cases lodged against leaders of a particular party". Congress' Pradeep Mathur and Pramod Tewari said that the riots were pre-planned.
Tewari alleged that there is a plot to turn UP into Gujarat and the CD, which was circulated in that state was also distributed in Muzaffarnagar.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan said that no government wants to spoil things and a positive message should have emanated from the house but Leader of Opposition did not pay heed to it. "The government has taken all the necessary steps from its side and people would have to remain vigilant against the forces working against society," the minister said.