Patna, Feb. 25 (PTI): The Nitish Kumar Government’s decision to institute a fresh judicial probe into the Bhagalpur riots of 1989 in which over 1,000 people were killed, evoked a mixed reaction with NDA constituents BJP and JD(U) hailing the decision as "historic" but Opposition RJD and Congress terming it a "political stunt."
Calling the decision "hogwash", RJD state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui told PTI the motive behind the decision appeared to be "protecting the real culprits" behind the riots, including "former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and some IAS and IPS officers".
"The Nitish government is trying to cover up the role of Advani, whose inflammatory speeches contributed to the communal tension. It is also trying to shield some IAS and IPS officers who formented the riots," Siddiqui charged.
BPCC Chief Spokesman Prem Chandra Mishra termed the decision as a "stunt" aimed at scoring "political points".
BJP national secretary Syed Shahnawaz Hussain congratulated Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for instituting a judicial probe into the riots, saying it will prove a "milestone of real secularism".
"There were many lacunae in the past probe. The NDA Cabinet’s decision to get the matter thoroughly inquired by a sitting or a retired judge of the Patna High Court is a big step forward in getting the victims justice," Hussain said.
State JD(U) Secretary General and a close associate of Kumar, Upendra Kushwaha, said a thorough probe into the Bhagalpur riot will bring out the truth "which the erstwhile RJD government tried to conceal".