India’s top court has criticised the government of Uttar Pradesh state for failing to prevent riots in Muzaffarnagar last year that resulted in the deaths of about 60 people.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Samajwadi Party-led government failed to protect the fundamental rights of the people and had been “negligent” in preventing the riots and maintaining communal harmony.
The court, however, said there was no need for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation – the country’s premier investigation agency – in view of the steps taken and promised by the state authorities.
Riots erupted in Muzaffarnagar last September and hundreds were forced to flee their homes. Inflammatory speeches by local politicians added to the tensions and about 16 of them have been charged with inciting the violence.
The Supreme Court said all those implicated in the riots must be arrested, irrespective of their political affiliations.
Muslim groups have accused the Uttar Pradesh government of failing to protect members of the community, an accusation denied by the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.