NEW DELHI the Jammu police turned a blind eye towards the misdeeds of the looters and rioters during last Friday’s Hindu Sikh clashes and even connived with them to the extent of identifying the targets for their attack. The Gurpurb procession for which permission seemed to have been given by a High authority was not provided with any police protection whatsoever. With the result that those participating in it became the easy targets of the stone throwing and stabbing attackers. The senior police officers including a D.I.G who were camping in Udhampur failed to turn up even after the news of the clashes was flashed all ‘over the state. Junior officers learnt of the events hours after they had begun and Jong after deaths had occurred, hundreds of people had been injured and property worth 50 crores was looted or destroyed.
These were some of the startling bits of information gathered by a Janata Dal leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during his three-day on the spot enquiry in Jammu after visiting several areas and talking to a number of people belonging to all communities. Mr. Mufti Sayeed has returned to Delhi with the impression that the total collapse of the law and order on that day was brought about by the willful neglect and irresponsible attitude at the official level.
Mr. Sayeed told newsmen it seemed to him that officials had provided a golden opportunity to the fanatic Shiv Sena workers and other antisocial elements to carry ‘out their misdeeds. Arson, looting and stabbing went on without any interference by the police. According to him, even the normal police arrangements provided to religious or otherwise processions, ‘was conspicuously absent on the Gurpurb occasion. The permission to organize the procession appears to have been given in a casual manner without understanding the implications of allowing the procession in the context of the tense atmosphere prevailing after the execution of S. Satwant Singh and S. Kehar Singh.
As many as 11 deaths had occurred and several hundred people were injured in the day’s
violence. The fact that almost all the injured persons receiving treatment in the hospital were Sikhs, it was apparent that the members of the procession were exposed to the attacks of the fanatic Hindu groups. The day’s events were more or less patterned on those that took place in November 1984 in Delhi. It was deplorable according to the Mufti as the Chief Minister had not taken any steps to offer compensation to the victims. It was not necessary to consult the center for such humanitarian gestures. Yet, the Chief Minister had chosen to approach the Union Minister in Delhi to seek his guidance. Mr. Mufti also pointed out that while senior Congress (I) leaders had issued statements condemning the incident in Andhra Pradesh and several senior Ministers visited Andhra Pradesh one after the other to criticize the Chief Minister Mr. Rama Rao, no Congress (I) leader or central Minister had chosen to visit Jammu to bring solace or offer a word of consolation to the victims of the communal clashes. Mr. Sayeed renewed his appeal to the Hindus and Sikhs of Jammu to reestablish communal harmony.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 27, 1989