Now looking for scapegoats to Rudrapur communal violence

Dehra Dun : Four lives gone, over two dozen people in hospital, curfew imposed in the city and a number of vehicles, both civil and government destroyed as crowds went berserk was what happened in Rudrapur in Uttarakhand on Sunday.

Two days later while it has become very obvious that the situation could have been prevented had the authorities concerned been more alert and cautious, the blame game has started with efforts to make some scapegoats.

Though chief minister BC Khanduri, who made a personal visit to the area to take stock of the situation, made no efforts to hide his displeasure with the officers in allowing the situation to take such a violent turn, and has announced that Commissioner Garhwal range, AS Nambyal will probe the matter and give his report in a week, but he made no bones of what was in his mind and gave the officials a hard time at an indoor meeting.

Even as efforts are being made to bring normalcy to the town which is on the border of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, what is troubling the authorities in the state is the fact that the entire incident could be a trailer to what could happen as the countdown to the elections to the vidhan sabha begins.

Obviously, Uttar Pradesh has a long history of communal violence, while the Rudrapur incident was the first communal violence in this tiny mountain state.

A senior official on conditions of anonymity confided that it was quite apparent that the incident was pre-planned by some people who want the situation to flare up, and it could be either political or otherwise.

“First a holy book was desecrated and the situation blown up, but thankfully the incident was controlled, which was perhaps why three days later again the incident reoccurred and this time it was ensured that the matter is blown out of proportions’, he claimed.

Apprehending that the incident was just the beginning of similar incidents in the run up to the elections specially along the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where there is a sizeable Muslim population, he said that the need of the hour was to create groups having members of both communities who can work for peace in their respective areas in cities and places where there is sizeable population of both communities.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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