What are the key findings of the report released by the Centre for Policy Analysis on the Muzaffarnagar violence?
The BJP, RSS and VHP, supported by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), were behind the violence. Moreover, the Samajwadi Party government did not do anything to prevent or control the violence, nor did it rehabilitate the displaced. We went about a week after the violence and there was no evidence of the state machinery in the camps. Around 43-45 people died and we believe that more than 50,000 people have been displaced. They fled the villages in complete fear because there were attacks from 6 to 9 September. And these people ran for their lives barefeet, leaving everything behind. These riots were different as they moved from the cities to the town to the villages. Moreover, the mobs didn’t come from outside – the villagers were incited to attack each other. The people who organised the violence did not want to kill in large numbers. Instead they wanted to displace people. What we call ethnic cleansing.
The victims claim that the government has been unable to proved them basic necessities. What is your assessment?
Wherever we visited – 7-8 days after the riots – there was not a single policeman, not a single state government official, no protection, no doctor, no food supplies, no milk, not even clothing. There have been no efforts to bring supplies to them. We travelled 60-70 km, but did not see even one government vehicle or police patrol. What is the state government doing? Nothing.
Do you agree with the authorities’ contention that the situation has returned to normal?
There were three incidents in Moradabad and Etah yesterday. It’s a tinderbox. It’s not subsiding. How can it subside when thousands of people are in camps? The villages we went to were like ghost villages – nobody was there. So the situation is very tense and there are all sorts of rumours. People still don’t know what the truth is. We couldn’t ascertain the actual incident because of the lies and the buildup.