Published On: Thu, Mar 27th, 2014
Published in Category: International

Indian state government failed to protect Muslims: SC

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New Delhi: Indian Supreme Court Wednesday said the Akhilesh Yadav government in north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh had failed to protect the fundamental rights of people in Muzaffarnagar, where nearly 60 Muslims were killed in riots last year.

The court also blamed the state government for negligence, but said there was no need for any probe by a Special Investigation Team or the CBI.

Responding to a batch of petitions, the court said that all accused named in riot cases must be arrested irrespective of their political affiliation.

16 politicians were charged with inciting violence, including the area’s BSP parliamentarian Kadir Rana, two BJP legislators and a BSP legislator.

The court also asked Indian government to provide police protection to women who have allegedly been raped during the riots.

“The court is conscious that more effective steps need to be taken by the state, including long-term measures to change the social mindset, like education sensitization of police and gender equality,” the top court said.

The riots flared up in Muzaffarnagar in September, in the aftermath of ethnic violence. Incendiary speeches by politicians and religious leaders triggered a wave of communal violence in several villages that continued for days.

The petitions alleged that the state government had failed to check the riots and was trying to protect rioters. They also alleged that the state had failed to conduct a fair probe.

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes in the middle of a charged campaign for next month’s national election.

The Samajwadi Party is seen to have lost many of its loyal Muslim voters who believe the government failed to protect them in Muzaffarnagar. The BJP hopes that a polarization will work in its favour; the constituency had seen a Jat-Muslim consolidation in the previous election in 2009.