The news of a 'riot' in Dhule town in Maharashtra almost got ignored in the national media. It is debatable if it was a riot, especially, in the sense this word is used in India.
It started from a small fight which turned into a clash and later six people were killed in police firing. But the incident failed to raw the attention of mainstream TV channels, which were far busy with issues that could fetch TRP from urban areas.
Dhule [also known as Dhulia] is not close to Mumbai. The outrage over Delhi gang rape, the firing at the Line of Control and the latest incident of Naxals inserting bombs in the bodies of CRPF personnel [14 killed in Jharkhand] had made it a newsy fortnight.
A few newspaper did focus on Dhule. Of the six people who died, all of them were hit by the policemen's bullets. Was it necessary to control violence or it was excessive use of force? A CID inquiry has been instituted [which is the norm in Maharashtra], not a judicial inquiry.
1. Did we hear anything about COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS & THE AMOUNT?
2. Any discussion yet on how the police suddenly went on FIRING SPREE?
3. Were Rubber Pellets, Water Cannon, Cane-Charge or Tear Gas tried INITIALLY?
The magisterial and CID inquiries are believed to be mere eyewash. The record of Maharashtra government regarding implementing Sri Krishna Commission report is well-known. Over a dozen corporators and deputy mayor here have threatened to resign if a high-level inquiry is not ordered.
This report 'Dhule, A Town Divided' says that minorities claim the local police have animosity towards them and selectively fired, which resulted in so many deaths, and further says that even BJP and Shiv Sena members assert that it was not a communal or Hindu-Muslim clash, but a Police-Muslim clash.
If this is true, then isn't it alarming! Role of police in riots has been questioned for decades. The exhaustive report by Zeeshan Shaikh also reveals how the local police had earlier made strong and biased comments in a charge sheet in similar violence in Dhule.
Sometime back we had a series of riots in UP, now its Maharashtra. Yes in Congress-ruled Maharashtra. Now, I too feel, that had it been a BJP ruled state, there would have been some more outcry in national media. Maybe I'm wrong! But that was a bad beginning to the year 2013. Communal riots continue unabated.
Will this ever end? Barely a few months back I had written a post on the ugly trend of similar incidents in UP and other parts of the country. Read the post on Street protests and Crowd control. Just hoping that there will be a probe which would find the reasons for the incident and if the firing was excessive, action is taken.
Indian Express reported how even a Deputy Tehsildar lost his son in police firing.
The Hindu report says that most of those killed were not involved in riot at all and were going about their daily lives when they were hit.