In a press conference on 15 May, Wednesday, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati called Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat a “black stain” on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She further said that though her tenure as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was shorter, it was “free of riots and anarchy.”
"“PM Narendra Modi was indeed the chief minister of Gujarat for a longer time than I was the CM of Uttar Pradesh. But his legacy is a black stain on the BJP and the country’s communalism, while in our government, Uttar Pradesh was free of riots and anarchy.”" - Mayawati, BSP Chief
But was it? We dig up the facts.
Was UP Riot-Free in Mayawati’s Tenure?
Mayawati was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 13 May 2007. Her tenure ended on 6 March 2012. Contrary to what Mayawati claims, the state saw several incidences of rioting during this period.
The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) data show that there were more than 4,000 incidences of riots (violence against public safety) every year under Mayawati’s tenure.
Here are some of the major instances of rioting that took place during Mayawati’s tenure.
Communal Clashes and Political Violence Curb UP’s Peace
In August 2007, the Taj Mahal had to be shut down for tourists and parts of Agra were put under curfew after violence broke out in the area. Reuters reported that an angry crowd of Muslims burned trucks and battled police to protest against the deaths of four community members hit by a lorry.
The violence resulted in the death of one person and several others — including policemen — were injured. Schools and colleges were also closed for the day. “Rumours that members of the minority community were looting and ransacking the shops owned by the majority community forced the Hindus to come out on the streets. Pitched battles were fought between the members of the two communities in the dark, narrow lanes of these localities,” another senior police official said, reported Economic Times.
In another incident in September 2008, the-then BJP MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath’s motorcade was attacked by miscreants in the Azamgarh district of UP. The Times of India reported that the attack prompted large-scale violence that left one person dead and several others injured.
A major riot broke out in Bareilly in March 2010 between Hindu and Muslim groups. The violence started on 2 March when the two communities clashed over the route of the Barawafat procession, which is traditionally taken out on the birthday of Prophet Muhammad by the Sunni Muslims in Chahbai. The violence soon spread to other areas, and continued for days as the two groups hurled lathis and stones at each other, burnt down shops and vandalised houses, reported Frontline. A curfew had to be imposed in Bareilly to curb the violence.
Another major incident of communal violence took place in August 2011 in Moradabad when Kanwariya pilgrims wanted to take out a procession through an undeclared route that irked the Muslim community in the area. The Jagran Post reported, that the Kanwariyas resorted to arson and vandalism and members from both communities resorted to large-scale violence. The warring groups clashed with the police and set vehicles on fire.
Though a curfew was imposed, The Hindu reported that violence returned after a week when rumours reached the Muslim community that a mosque had been set on fire, resulting in more clashes between the Muslim and Hindu mobs.
Clashes With Police
Violence erupted in Aligarh in August 2010, as police clashed with farmers who were demonstrating against the low compensation for land given by the government to construct the Yamuna Expressway. The Times of India reported that the protest turned ugly when the police allegedly had to open fire at the farmers who were attacking them with stones and setting vehicles on fire. The clash spread to other areas and two police outposts and a post office were burnt down.
In another land-acquisition row, BBC reported that farmers in the Bhatta-Parsaul village in Greater Noida abducted three employees of a state-run bus company during a protest. The incident took place in May 2011, when a group of farmers were protesting to demand higher compensation for land taken by the government to build a motorway.
The protest spread to several other parts of the state and groups of farmers armed with sticks and stones attacked police officials. Two constables and a farmer lost their lives in a clash between the group and police forces.
"In the home district of Mayawati, farmers are being shot dead. Farmers’ land is being acquired at throwaway prices." UPPCC president Rita Bahuguna told TOI.
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