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‘Pakistan banayenge’: 1980 Moradabad Riots report busts ‘pigs let loose during namaz’ lie, witness details Muslim League, Congress orchestrating riots

The inquiry report established that the communal frenzy was a result of a conspiracy hatched by Muslim League and Congress leaders.

On August 8, the Uttar Pradesh government-led by Yogi Adityanath tabled an inquiry report into the 1980 Moradabad riots that killed at least 83 people and left 112 others injured. 

The 496-page report submitted by a one-member commission of Allahabad High Court Judge MP Saxena in May 1983, which was kept under wraps for nearly 4-decades, busts the narrative that has been woven around the riots so far, pinning the beginnings of the violence to lies being spread about pigs being set loose among those offering namaz at the Eidgah in Moradabad. The report delves into the root causes and their domino effect leading to the 1980 riots.

The report established that the communal frenzy was a result of a conspiracy hatched by Muslim League and Congress leaders. Refuting the entire ‘pig entering the Eidgah in Moradabad during the Eid namaz’ angle, the reports stated that a group of criminals supported by Muslim League leaders were responsible for the massacre.

The report by Justice Saxena, which includes the testimony of numerous Muslims and Hindus as well as police officers present during the riots, absolves the RSS, BJP, and Hindus of any wrongdoing and entirely blames the violence on the communal politics pursued by some Muslim political figures, particularly those associated with the Muslim League and Congress party, which was in power at both the state and national levels at the time of the riots.

Justice Saxena’s report says 1980 Moradabad Riot was pre-planned by Muslim League and Congress leaders

The recently released inquiry report, a copy of which Opindia has accessed, said that the Moradabad riot was “pre-planned” by local leaders of the Muslim League led by Shamim Ahmad and Hamid Hussain alias Ajji and their supporters. The report blames the political ambitions of Dr Shamim Ahmed Khan, who revived the Indian Union Muslim League in Uttar Pradesh and was trying to take on Hafiz Mohammed Siddiqui of the Congress Party.

The report mentions in detail the written testimony of as many as six Hindus who were present at the time of the riots and interestingly each testimony suggests that the massacre was not spontaneous but a premeditated one. The details shared by these eyewitnesses bust the popular narrative around the riots so far that pins the beginnings of the violence to rumours being spread about pigs being set loose among those offering namaz at the Eidgah in Moradabad. 

Hari Om Sharma, who was the BJP district president of Moradabad at that time, contended that the riot was part of a bigger conspiracy. Sharma in his testimony narrated the sequence of events that were engineered by Muslim League leaders to ignite communal hatred that led to the riots.

With tactical assistance from other Islamic countries throughout the world, Islamist organizations like the Muslim League, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Tablighi-e-Islam chose Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh and Moradabad as the locations for their inevitable campaigns to create Islamic supremacy.

Muslims who lived in Moradabad, a region known for its brassware industry, were extremely affluent as a result of exporting brass goods to various Arab nations. The Islamic nations began eyeing Moradabad with the intention of making it a Muslim-dominated region.

These Islamist organizations, which were trying to establish their presence in the political landscape of India, with tactical support from the Arab countries, assisted Muslim illegal immigrants from Bihar and West Bengal to infiltrate and settle in various locations in Aligarh and Moradabad in an attempt to alter the demography of Uttar Pradesh. Due to the subsequent dominance of the Muslim population, communal violence became very common in Moradabad.

The BJP leader in his written testimony hinted at how the Congress used vote-bank politics and Muslim appeasement to sway the Moradabad elections by detailing specifics of several smaller incidents that began occurring three months earlier and ultimately culminated in the Moradabad Riots.

Muslim League leader sided with the Muslim youths who abducted and raped a Dalit girl

In the year 1980, when Congress was at the helm of affairs in the state and at the centre, Moradabad’s politics was such that Dr Shamim Ahmed Khan had revived the Muslim League and was trying to take on Hafiz Mohammed Siddiqui of the Congress Party.

In March 1980, a Dalit Valmiki community girl, residing in Indira Chowk locality in Moradabad, was kidnapped by local Muslim youths led by one Mohammed Riyaz and gangraped. She had gone to clean a building.

Dr Shamim Ahmed Khan, in order to raise his status among the Muslims, sided with the accused. The Moradabad police, however, launched a probe and after much deliberation rescued the Dalit teenager and handed her over to her family. Local Muslims in the region were so enraged by the police’s timely intervention and prompt action against the accused that they started formulating a plan to exact revenge on the police and Dalit community members.

The BJP leader further recalled that the aforementioned incident happened a few months prior to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections which were held in May that year. Hafiz Mohammed Siddiqui of the Congress Party, on the other hand, had consolidated the support of not only the resident Bihari Muslim immigrants but gathered Muslim goons from outside.

On May 31, the final day of voting, Siddiqui’s supporters made a strong showing in the town hall. A fight suddenly broke out between them and some other people who were present. Muslims from the Sambhal and Milak (Rampur) districts did, in fact, file a complaint against Siddiqui’s supporters for raising a commotion outside the town hall. They said that the accused had congregated there to back Siddiqui in the complaint.

Following the complaint, Siddiqui’s supporters gathered and raised anti-India slogans like, “Aadhi roti khayenge Pakistan banayenge” and “Punjabiyon ko bhagayenge, naya Asam banayenge” outside the town hall in Moradabad.

Excerpt from Justice Saxena’s inquiry report on the 1980 Moradabad Riots

Further divulging details of another event that went on to become another cause that instigated the violence, the BJP leader said that in June 1980, in the wake of a road rage incident, a local goon named Javed was assaulted by a member of the Thakur community, in which he was severely injured. The police reached the spot and arrested Javed and was taking him to the police station but he succumbed to his injuries when he was on the way to the PS.

Khan tried to communalise this incident too to emerge as the biggest sympathiser of Muslims. He led a campaign that Javed was killed by the police. Despite having no permission from the administration, a juloos (funeral procession) was taken out with Javed’s body.

Khan along with another Muslim League leader Dr Hamid Hussain Khan and Congress leader Hafiz Mohammed Siddiqui began milking the situation and instigating the Muslims in Moradabad. Soon after, a Muslim mob went on a rampage. They raised derogatory slogans against the police administration and beat up the policemen in different localities of the city. Additional District Magistrate (ADM) DP Singh was lynched to death by the frenzied Muslim mob in front of the SP and DM of Moradabad.

In the evening, the Islamists attacked the Galshaheed police chowki (outpost), setting it on fire, killing two policemen and looting the arms. The Muslim leaders and their supporters pledged that they would not let the authorities live in peace.

Meanwhile, the Dalit family of the girl who was abducted and raped by local Muslim youths led by Mohammed Riyaz grew scared of the political backing for the accused and, fearing for their daughter’s life, quickly arranged her marriage.

On 27 July, her marriage procession was being taken out in the town. When the baraat (marriage procession) reached Indira Chowk, a Muslim mob started pelting stones and misbehaving with those participating in the marriage procession.

Calling it a pre-planned attack, the BJP leader said that the armed mob singled out houses of Dalit Valmikis and set them on fire. They also tried to set police vans ablaze. Several members of the Valmiki community were injured in the incident and a youth named Banwari died on the spot.

After the incident, the members of the Dalit Valmiki community filed a complaint against the Muslim rioters but because of the political backing they enjoyed, no action was taken against them.

Meanwhile, another Hindu eyewitness Dayanand Gupta, added that following the attack on Valmikis, the community stopped cleaning the toilets of the Muslim colony from 24 July onwards. This enraged the Muslims who in revenge, poisoned some pigs reared by Valmikis. Khan, who wanted to remain in the good book of the Muslims, came out to provide full support to the members of his brethren.

Due to these above incidents, Moradabad was already communally sensitive. In such a situation, on August 13, 1980, on the occasion of Eid, Muslim League’s Dr Shamim Ahmad and Hamid Ansari hatched a conspiracy and instigated their supporters who, in turn, unleashed violence in and around the Eidgah which later spread to different parts of the city.

The BJP leader recalled how only two Muslim League Shivirs (camps) were spared as the enraged crowd set fire to all of the Shivirs (camps) that had been set up near the Eidgah for the occasion. Additionally, he claimed that on August 13, when the violence emerged, the leaders of the Muslim League remained around their Shivirs (camps) rather than attending the Eidgah to do the Namaz. This, the BJP official said, was still more evidence that these Muslim leaders were aware of what would happen at The Eidgah.

Moreover, the tale of a pig entering the namaz area was a concoction, he said, adding that no evidence was ever found of a pig straying or being let loose into the Eidgah.

Following the rumour of the pig, other rumours claimed that police killed thousands of Muslims while they were praying in the Eidgah. Hari On Sharma refuted this claim as well, stating that no signs of stones or weapons were discovered when the Eidgah was cleaned afterwards.

Excerpt from Justice Saxena’s inquiry report on the 1980 Moradabad Riots

These rumours, however, instigated large-scale attacks by Muslims who indulged in rioting while chanting “kill policemen and Hindus, and burn their houses”. The frenzied Muslim mob pelted stones at Hindus and attacked them with weapons they carried.

All Muslim leaders unanimously supported the Muslim mob, who turned the city into a cauldron of violence.

The BJP leader went on to assert that the Muslim leaders had received a significant amount of funding to orchestrate the riots from Pakistan and other Islamic countries outside of India. Several illegal arms and weapons were recovered from the houses of the rioters who had unleashed mayhem in and around the Eidgah on the fateful day on August 13, 1980.

The blame game and cover-ups

The riots happened when Congress leader VP Singh was the chief minister. The then Union Minister Yogendra Makwana pinned the blame for the riots on the RSS, Jan Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi suggested that “foreign forces” (referring to Pakistan) and “communal parties” were behind the violence.

The Times of India editor Girilal Jain stated that the “anti-social elements” among the Muslims were partly responsible for the violence, and criticized the Muslim leaders for not admitting to the facts and instead blaming the RSS.

BJP veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani blamed the Muslim organizations for the violence.

Journalist and former BJP MP MJ Akbar wrote in his book Riot after Riot that the incident “was not a Hindu-Muslim riot but a calculated cold-blooded massacre of Muslims by a rabidly communal police force which tried to cover up its genocide by making it out to be a Hindu-Muslim riot.”

Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) correspondent Krishna Gandhi asserted that the “group of criminals supported by Muslim League leaders” were responsible for the massacres.

Amidst all the allegations and counter-allegations, Justice Saxena, a judge of the Allahabad HC, was appointed to investigate the riots.

He had prepared his 496-page report on this and submitted it in May 1983, indicting Muslim League leaders and VP Singh for the violence, however, for so many years the report kept getting repositioned from one government department to the other. In the last 4 decades, the file has reportedly been suppressed at least 14 times on one pretext or the other. No subsequent governments released its content.

After Yogi Adityanath came to power in the state, his government decided to open the 43-year-old case. In May this year, the state cabinet decided to table the Justice M P Saxena Commission’s report in the assembly. On Tuesday, August 8, the Uttar Pradesh government tabled the inquiry report into the 1980 Moradabad riots in the UP Assembly.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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