Anti-Muslim violence unleashed by Hindu Vahini volunteers goes on unabated

Lucknow, February 3: Even a week after communal tension gripped Gorakhpur, the situation is yet to be normal, notwithstanding claims made by officials. Sporadic clashes are reported from neighbouring areas, simmering since Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath was arrested on January 28. The MP was arrested for disturbing peace after two days of communal violence in the city following the death of a youth.

Activists of the Hindu Vahini set two bogies of Gorakhpur-bound Godan Express on fire at Mohammadabad Railway Station on February 1. No casualty was reported. According to railway officials, after the train started from Azamgarh, it was stopped at Mohammadabad and a mob of anti-social elements set two coaches on fire. The fire engulfed the bogies as the passengers got down from the train.

Trouble broke out when a person was killed in a fracas that ensued in a tazia procession. Adityanath’s supporters went berserk when they were stopped by the district administration from holding a meeting on January 28. In the meantime, the Union minister of state for home, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, told newsmen that the Centre was worried over the situation. He said that the Centre had provided 20 companies of paramilitary forces and promised to give more, if required, to handle the situation.

Gorakhpur riots have taken centrestage in UP politics as political parties charge the ruling party with inciting violence. If Congress leaders see a calculated conspiracy behind Adityanath’s arrest, Jan Morcha leaders urge both communities to maintain calm in the face of "government-sponsored" riots.

"Mulayam Singh Yadav is as much responsible for Gorakhpur riots as Yogi Adityanath", says UPCC president Salman Khurshid. Khurshid blamed the chief minister for deliberately choosing the wrong time for nabbing the yogi in order to politically encash the incident. "As per the claims made by the chief minister, the yogi had been carrying out fissiparous activities for the last 10 years. Why was no action taken against him so far, and what was the need to proceed against him on the eve of Moharram, when such a step was sure to have led to communal disorder?" he asks.

Trouble had been anticipated in the district since Eid when Saddam Hussein was hanged and the state government had an inkling about the explosive situation in Gorakhpur, says Khurshid. The Congress leader blames the government for not taking necessary preventive measures.

RR JHA in Lucknow


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