New Delhi, Oct. 2: The National Commission for Minorities has said the communal flare-up in Bharatpur last month was largely one-sided and police not only used excessive force on Muslims but were responsible for lapses that led to the riot.
Commission member Keki N. Daruwalla said: Our report is a clear indictment of the administration, especially the police.... The police used excessive force and the violence was entirely one-sided.
The clashes between Meo Muslims and Gujjar Hindus on September 14 and 15 are believed to have started after rumours spread that the Muslims had killed some Gujjars because some of their youths had assaulted a Muslim cleric.
The Gujjars reportedly went to the police who on September 14 opened fire on Muslims who had gathered in a mosque for prayers. Eight Muslims died in the firing.
Daruwalla, a former IPS officer, said no Gujjar was hit by the police bullets.
He said had the police station house officer taken action when the rumours started, nothing would have happened. He also said more than 200 bullet marks were counted on the walls of the mosque and its neighbouring buildings.
Sources in the minority panel said the report would soon be discussed with Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who has already ordered a judicial inquiry. The Congress high command put Gehlot on notice after the flare-up.
Syeda Imam, the minority panel member who led the inquiry team to Bharatpur district in Rajasthan, said: Our report strongly suggests that the police should demonstrate better preparedness when a flare-up is brewing so that it is more promptly contained and particularly… to desist from repeated firing in and around places of worship.