NEW DELHI: India’s top court slammed Wednesday the government of the country’s most populous state for failing to protect Muslims during communal riots last year that killed some 50 people.
The Supreme Court also criticized state and national intelligence agencies for failing to predict the violence that erupted in eastern Uttar Pradesh state in September that forced some 50,000 Muslims to flee their homes.
“We prima facie hold the state government responsible for being negligent at the initial stage by not anticipating communal violence and for not taking necessary steps for its prevention,” Chief Justice P. Sathasivam told the court.
The court in New Delhi was responding to petitions filed by lawyers seeking justice for victims of the riots that started in Muzaffarnagar district and spread to neighboring areas.
The court, which has been scrutinizing the progress of relief and justice for those affected, cricitised security agencies for failing to warn about trouble brewing in the district.
The court said those accused of wrongdoing during the riots should be arrested as part of the ongoing state police investigation, while victims and their families offering police assistance should be protected.
The court however denied a request from the petitioners for a national Central Bureau of Intelligence probe into the riots.
Local politicians have been accused of encouraging the violence to polarise the electorally crucial state along religious lines ahead of the national polls starting next month.