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Yogi govt tables report on 1980 Moradabad riots which indicted Muslim League leaders and Congress CM VP Singh for the violence

Although the government has not yet released the specific contents of the report, sources have confirmed that the report stated that two Muslim League leaders had orchestrated the turmoil

On Tuesday, August 8, the Uttar Pradesh government tabled an inquiry report into the 1980 Moradabad riots that saw the death of at least 83 people and left 112 others injured. Suresh Kumar Khanna, the State Parliamentary Affairs Minister, formally presented the report in the UP Assembly today.

Although the government has not yet released the specific contents of the report, sources have confirmed that the report stated that two Muslim League leaders had orchestrated the turmoil that took place in Moradabad between August and November 1980. It states that a group of criminals supported by Muslim League leaders were responsible for the massacre.

The report is believed to have said that no government official, employee, nor any member of the Hindu community, RSS, Jan Sangh or BJP was responsible for causing a commotion at the Eidgah and other locations, a fake narrative being peddled by the Congress and Islamists since the incident happened. The report, furthermore, is believed to have absolved the Uttar Pradesh Police from any blame.

Notably, the 496-page report was submitted by a one-member commission of Allahabad High Court Judge MP Saxena, who was appointed to investigate the incident and the reasons behind it, in November 1983, 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.

UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya addressed the matter before the media and pointed out that the report had been kept in wraps up until this point and that the current BJP-led government had brought it before the state Assembly.

Maurya emphasized that this revelation will provide the state’s and the country’s citizens with a chance to learn the truth about the 1980 Moradabad riots. “This report was hidden and it needs to be presented. This will help the citizens know the truth about the Moradabad Riots…One should welcome this report as it will bring out who does the riot, who supports it, and who fights against it…” Maurya was quoted as saying by ANI.

He continued by saying that the previous 15 Chief Ministers should be held responsible for delaying the presentation of the report to the Assembly.

Maurya pushed for truthfulness and the admission of facts. He stressed that it is crucial to identify individuals who encouraged and shielded the riots and said that the report provides this crucial information.

1980 Moradabad Riots

The 1980 Moradabad riots, which Muslim leader Syed Shahabuddin later compared the firing to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, commenced on 3 August, when a pig reportedly entered the Eidgah in Moradabad during the Eid namaz. The riots that started in Moradabad town, continued in Sambhal, Aligarh, Bareilly, Allahabad (now Prayagraj), and the rural areas of Moradabad until early 1981. 

Notably, when the riots happened, there was a Congress government in Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of Chief Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh. At the time, a Congress government, led by Indira Gandhi, was also in power at the Centre.

On the fateful day, of Aug 13, 1980, as many as 70,000 Muslims were reading Namaz on Eid in Moradabad. Police were engaged in security. As per various accounts, a pig suddenly entered the Eidgah from an adjacent Dalit slum. Notably, several scholars over the year have asserted that the pig was purposely pushed into the Eidgah by the Muslim League leaders to trigger the unrest.

The Muslims present at the Eidgah asked the police to intervene, but the latter refused. This enraged the  Muslim crowd at the Idgah soon turned into a mob, and indulged in mass looting and arson of the Dalit slums. The Muslim mobs beat up the policemen in different localities of the city. They burnt a PAC constable to death. Additional District Magistrate (ADM) DP Singh was lynched to death y 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. This was followed by violent reprisals by the police.

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 report on this and submitted it in May 1983, indicting Muslim League leaders and VP Singh for the violence but this report was not tabled by the subsequent Congress, Samajwadi Party or by the Bahujan Samajwadi Party government.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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