It was seen on the Hindu Festival of Ram Navami, the celebration of the birth of Lord Ram, how processions carried out by Hindus were attacked all across the country by Muslims. Be it in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, or West Bengal, Muslims pelted stones on the Hindus who participated in the processions, attacked them, and burnt vehicles down, creating ruckus and leading to violence.
Talking about West Bengal, the state Chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, who is evidently not a huge fan of Lord Ram and gets triggered because of slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, had said that the Hindu processions should not go into ‘Muslim areas’ and that Hindus should ‘not get provoked’. And while Mamata Banerjee was hellbent to prove that it was the Hindus who were responsible for the communal violence, despite being attacked by the Muslim rioters, a report presented by the 6-member fact-finding committee, led by former Patna High Court Chief, Justice Narasimha Reddy, says otherwise.
After the team visited the riot-affected areas of West Bengal on 8th and 9th April, the report was prepared, in which it has been categorically stated that the riots on the day of Ram Navami and its aftermath were “pre-planned, orchestrated, and instigated”. And Mamata Banerjee’s speech was labelled to be the ‘trigger’. Further, the claim of Banerjee stating that the procession followed an ‘unauthorized route’ was also refuted in the report.
The committee mentioned in its report that the route was not changed and the police were apprised about the route well in advance, who had approved of the same.
The report stated, “In fact, due to prior apprehension in Howrah and violence on a particular stretch in previous years, the organizers of the procession had sought special police security in a 100-metre stretch in a highly sensitive area because of the past history of communal violence. The state police failed to provide such security in advance and also failed to secure the life and property of procession takers knowing fully well the sensitive nature of the area”.
Hence, it was stated by the report that while the riots were pre-planned, Chief Minister Banerjee and her speech was a continuous trigger for violence and attacks, and her blaming the Hindu community and giving a clean-chit to the Muslims was ‘prejudicial’ and ‘biased’. Along with this, the police remained to be mute spectators of the violence, siding with the rioters.
The report further mentions that an MLA, Biman Ghosh, was attacked despite having CISF security, and this “clearly showed the intent and conduct of the state police which appears to be no less than tacitly supporting illegal and communal elements”.
“The rioters and their backers appear to have acted with the active support of the state government machinery. The extent of the damage could not have been so widespread and could not have been on such a big scale without the support of the state government”, the fact-finding committee mentioned in its report.