M A I N   N E W S

BSF flag march in Mau, hunt on for Ansari

Mau/Lucknow, October 23
The Border Security Force today staged a flag march in Mau and raids were conducted to arrest Independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari wanted for inciting the post-Dasehra communal riots even as the authorities decided to relax the day curfew in the town in a phased manner tomorrow, said a PTI report.

Two BSF companies had arrived in the town and staged a flag march to restore the people’s confidence while the RAF, PAC and police continued round-the-clock vigil in all the sensitive areas, Mau District Magistrate Mukesh Meshram and Superintendent of Police Sujit Pandey said.

Curfew would be relaxed tomorrow in phases at Nizamuddin, Hydel Colony, Power House Colony and Domampura localities with the peace committees being activated, they said.

Passenger trains suspended in the wake of the riots had also been restored and distribution of essentials restarted since 11.45 am.

Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) Alok Sinha and Director-General of Police Yashpal Singh told reporters in Lucknow that raids were being carried out in various parts of the state and three were conducted in Lucknow itself this morning to arrest Ansari”.

Mr Pandey and Mr Meshram said 12 persons were arrested in raids in Baans-ki-Masjid and the administration had decided to cancel arms licences of those named in the FIRs.

The state Election Commission had been asked to postpone the Nagar Palika Parishad elections due next month with the Zila and Kshetra panchayat polls already deferred.

Queried by reporters, the DGP said there was no question of withdrawing the murder case against Ansari in light of the person who filed the FIR giving him a clean chit and accusing the local police of framing the MLA. “The new claims will, however, be included in the ongoing inquiries,” he said.

Mr Singh also warned that if the security guards provided to the MLA did not “report the whereabouts of Ansari, who is now a murder accused, action could be taken against them”.

Meanwhile, UPCC President Salman Khursheed was prevented from moving out of his house in Lucknow this morning to go to Mau to assess the situation, Congress sources claimed.

Mr Sinha said the administration had requested leaders of various political parties not to visit the town as it could adversely affect efforts to restore peace and order.

The Congress leader could seek the permission afresh in two days and a decision taken depending on the prevailing situation, the Principal Secretary said.

The RSS, meanwhile, accused the Uttar Pradesh Government of “callousness” in handling the riots. Its spokesman Ram Madhav told reporters at the RSS conclave in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh, that it was a “one sided massacre of Hindus and shocking to see that the state government, instead of ordering a full inquiry, was trying to shield the guilty”.

Shaira Naim adds: Fishing in Mau’s troubled waters began today with charges and counter-charges by religious and political leaders. State action was limited to unsuccessful police raids on various residences of Independent Mau MLA Mukhtar Ansari at Lucknow, Mau and Ghazipur.

The DGP, Mr Yashapal Singh confessed that it was “not easy” to nab Mukhtar.

In a related development, Samajwadi Party MP from Ghazipur and Mukhtar’s brother Afzal Ansari, charged that state government was conducting the raids after succumbing to pressure from the Raj Bhawan. It was a mockery of democracy if an elected government acted under pressure from the Governor, he retorted.

Blaming the Congress for misleading the Governor, Mr Ansari said that he had sought time from the Governor to present the other point of view. He shared with the media a 5-minute video snippet that he hoped to show the Governor.

According to him the same snippet, without sound track, was shown over the TV channels to point out that Mukhtar was violating curfew and inciting riots. In the sound track one could hear Mukhtar pacifying crowds to return home, ordering the ambulances, directing doctors to take immediate action, and monitoring treatment at the Benaras Hindu University Hospital where most of the seriously injured were taken.

Mahant Aditya Nath ‘Yogi’ MP from Gorakhpur, hinted at a long-drawn operation to what he described as “getting justice for the Mau victims”. Amongst the interventions was a visit to the Governor with the victims, calling upon the Union Home Minister, filing a PIL at the High Court, Supreme Court and even launching a ‘Mau chalo’ campaign..

Meanwhile, the Home Secretary, Mr Alok Sinha, said that ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the seven of the eight riot victims had already been made. In the case of the eighth victim the family had probably moved away and could not be located as yet. Payment of Rs 25,000 to each of the 35 persons injured in the communal violence had also been made. 


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