//Aligarh riots: UP govt in NCM's line of fire

Aligarh riots: UP govt in NCM's line of fire

Mahendra Kumar Singh, [ Wednesday, April 19, 2006 11:56:26 pmTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: Keeping up the pressure on the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Wednesday repeated its charge that the UP administration failed to protect Muslims during the recent riots in Aligarh.

The fresh salvo came from the chairman of the body, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who said the commission has submitted its report to the Centre.

"The commission has submitted its report to the Prime Minister. Now it is for the government to take action,"Hamid told TOI.

His attack came in the wake of a report prepared by the commission member, Harcharan Singh Josh, damning the UP government’s handling of the riots.

Josh had accused the UP police of shooting to kill Muslims, in what marked perhaps the first instance of the "secular"government of Mulayam Singh being attacked for not being "fair"to the minority community, which has been steadfast in its support to him since 1990.

Coming amid deteriorating ties with Congress and in the build-up to next year’s state polls, the strictures can be ammunition in the hands of Sonia Gandhi.

The NCM chief, however, took pains to stress the probe into the handling of the Aligarh riots was in harmony with NCM’s agenda to protect and further the interests of the minorities.

He claimed, after the setting up of the National Human Rights Commission, a certain level of awareness has been generated in the country on the rights of individuals.

But there is still not enough awareness about group rights."Group rights are not properly interpreted. They are always regarded as something which undercut the national identity. The need is to build public opinion to recognise the existence of sub-identities,"he said.

He acknowledged doing so will not be easy, but said sub-identities were a ‘reality’.

"We cannot run away with this; we have to face it. The need is to build Parliamentary opinion, media opinion and civil society opinion. Additional identities other than national identity cannot be ignored. They should be welcomed since they are a sign of maturity in a plural society,"Hamid said.


Five hurt in acid attack in Aligarh mosque, tension mounts

Aligarh: Tension mounted again in this communally-sensitive town tonight after some people threw a bottle on acid inside a mosque while Friday prayers were on, leaving five persons injured.

Security personnel had begun patrolling the streets to maintain law and order, just three days after curfew was lifted from the riot-hit areas.

Police said the bottle containing sulphuric acid was thrown inside the mosque at Abdul Karim crossing in Kotwali police station area at around 7.30 pm when the evening ‘namaz’ was being offered.

Five persons were injured and admitted to hospital and an FIR had been registered in this connection, they said.

Soon after the incident, thousands of people gathered on the streets and shops downed shutters as tension prevailed over the area.

Senior administrative and police officials were making announcements on loudspeakers asking people to remain calm and assuring that those behind the acid attack would be arrested shortly.

The town witnessed communal clashes on April 6 and sporadic incidents of violence in which five persons were killed and more than 20 injured.

Indefinite curfew had been clamped in five police station areas and only lifted on Tuesday after normalcy returned.