Jihadi leaders wants second Barawafat procession, While Hindus starve in riot-torn Bareilly

published on March 14, 2010

Residents starve in riot-torn Bareilly

Sunil Thapliyal | Bareilly – Daily Pioneer

Admn fails to act tough against troublemakers; BJP team stopped from visiting city

Failure of the district administration to act tough against communal elements has created a situation of starvation for residents in the five police station areas of Bareilly city in Uttar Pradesh. The curfew continued in the city for the last 12 consecutive days after the administration failed to crack down on communal leaders who wanted to take out a second Barawafat procession complete with arms through Hindu-dominated areas.

Meanwhile, the security agencies on Sunday staged flag marches while a chopper kept an aerial vigil on the riot-torn city. The forces prevented a three-member BJP team led by MP Maneka Gandhi from going to the city. While Gandhi was restricted at Ghaziabad, another member of the team, Gorakhpur MP Yogi Aditynath, was asked to get down from Gorakhpur-Bareilly Express train in Barabanki, near Lucknow, around 3 am, officials said. He was taken to a State guesthouse and later sent back.

The curfew clamped on the city on March 2, following clashes, has not been relaxed in five of the six police station areas, including Prem Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Kotwali, Baradari and Qila, leading the people to starve for basis necessities. “The supply of essential commodities, including milk for our children, has been stopped. We are running short of food due to persistent curfew in the city,” rued a local family. The members of the family said that though the curfew was relaxed for a few hours a day, yet they feared to venture out of their houses. “I have not been able to open my shop for the last 13 days even since the situation exacerbated here. My business has got seriously affected and I am struggling to earn bread and butter for my family,” said Manish, who runs a grocery shop. Notably, after large-scale violence on Friday in which several shops and vehicles were torched by a mob, heavy force has been deployed throughout the city to avert further trouble.

The district administration, on the other hand, is in no mood to relax the curfew saying the safety and security of the people could not be compromised with. “Ensuring law and order in the city is the prime objective. We have been relaxing the curfew for limited period every day. However, any decision to lift the curfew could be taken only when the situation is fully under control,” said Majid Ali, Commissioner, Bareilly. He further appealed to the people to maintain calm to help the forces overcome the situation. Superintendent of Police (City) Rakesh Jolly said that some miscreants misused the liberty given by the police that further created trouble and aggravated the situation. “Though the situation is tense, it is completely under control and no incident of clash or violence has been reported from any part of the city since morning,” he claimed.

The tension erupted following an attempt to change the route of the second Barawafat procession through Hindu-dominated areas in the city on March 2, a day after Holi. This led to an exchange of strong arguments between the two communities which gradually turned into a violent clash between them, during which a few shops in Subhash Nagar area in the district were burned down. The situation further worsened after Maulana Tauquir Raza Khan, president of a religious group, Ittehad-e-Millat, was released immediately after he was arrested for fomenting communal passion. “It was a deliberate attempt of the communal elements to provoke the sentiments of the Hindus. The sequence of incidents — changing the route of the procession despite specific directions from the local administration and the public display of arms and raising communally sensitive slogans throughout the route of procession — fomented the communal clash,” said Mahesh Sharma, a resident of Kotwali area, one of the worst-hit areas in Bareilly.

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