PCI blames ‘lax’ administration for riots in Faizabad

The rioting in Faizabad and nearby areas in October last year was the result of a conspiracy rooted in a communal mindset, and not because of any immediate incident, according to an inquiry conducted by a team of the Press Council of India.

The inquiry report, which was released on Friday, said that administrative inefficiency and lack of will contributed to the rioting, which was spread over 50 kilometres.

The inquiry was conducted by PCI member Sheetla Singh, who was deputed as a one-man team by chairman Markandey Katju on getting a complaint from Teesta Setalvad, Editor of Communism Combat.

Rioting had taken place at Faizabad and nearby towns of Bhadarsa, Shahganj, Rudauli and other places after some incidents during Durga Puja processions. Two persons were killed and many shops burnt.

The report says that certain BJP leaders made provocative speeches and tried to incite sentiments after the theft of idols from Devkali temple of Faizabad on September 21. Later, during the processions on October 24, rumours were spread to provoke violence against Muslims.

The report said that the attack on bilingual weekly Aapki Taqat, whose office was ransacked and burnt, was not because of any writing in the newspaper but because of editor Manjar Mehdi's religion.

It said that the reporting in many newspapers was unprofessional and they did not follow the code of conduct for reporting communal riots.

In its recommendations, the report said that officials who neglected their duty, showed incompetence and lack of will should be punished. Also, a commission should be constituted so that the guilty could be identified and punished.

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