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Sangli Communal Violence

The Hindu
September 11, 2009

BJP blames Congress for Sangli riots

Staff Reporter

Party trying to polarise voters: Munde

MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Gopinath Munde on Thursday blamed the Congress for the situation in the riot-hit Ichalkaranji, Miraj and Sangli.

“The Congress is trying to polarise voters on communal lines and secure Muslim votes for itself,” he told journalists at the party office here. “However, this attempt will fail.”

“Agreement violated”

Mr. Munde lambasted the ruling alliance for violating the agreement reached at an all-party meeting on the riots on Tuesday. “The Opposition came out in support of the government on three occasions: first, after the serial blasts in local trains in 2006; next, during the terror attacks last November; and finally now.

“In fact, with the elections coming up, we needn’t have responded to the Chief Minister’s call for an all-party meeting. But we kept the State’s peace in mind. The CM has gone back on all the promises.”

At the all-party meeting, it was decided that the local people would be allowed to decide whether the controversial poster depicting Chhatrapati Shivaji killing the Mughal emperor’s commander Afzal Khan must be displayed. At a meeting later attended by the local Hindus, Muslims and Ministers, it was agreed to put up the poster.

“However, when the actual [Ganeshotsav] immersions started, the police did not allow that [display of the poster] to happen,” he said. The controversy had prompted some mandals to put off the immersion ritual.

“Four Ministers, whom I don’t want to name, said that the SP [Superintendent of Police] did not pay heed to their orders. One hundred and fifteen mandals were served notice that if they did not perform immersions, action would be taken against them. In protest, people have decided to wear black bands around their arms and perform the immersions.”

He said the government went back on its promise to release from jail those without any serious charges against them. “The police released some people, but arrested them once again later.”

He said the government had not lifted the orders barring him from entering the riot-affected districts, though the Chief Minister agreed to do so at the all-party meeting.




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