Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday began probing the role of politicians in sectarian violence that left 28 people dead in Muzaffarnagar in the past two days.
"We are collecting proof of their role in inciting mobs, mobilizing the crowds for the Maha Panchayat which later triggered the violence," a home department official told IANS.
The government has also asked the cyber unit of the state police to trace the "provocative and fake" video clips uploaded on YouTube, which apparently further aggravated the situation.
A senior aide of the chief minister said that while heads are rolling for administrative failure at our level, the political class involved in the violence cannot be glossed over.
One inspector, a deputy inspector general of police (DIG), an inspector general of police (IG) and the commissioner of Meerut were given marching orders Monday.
Cases have been slapped on senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress leaders. The police have accused many political leaders of inciting mobs against communities and provoking violence.
A senior police official told IANS that first information reports (FIRs) against four BJP legislators - Hukum Singh, Bhartendu, Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana - along with Congress MP Harendra Malik have been lodged for violating prohibitory orders.
Sources in the Chief Minister's Office told IANS that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had also sought media reports, photographs, local intelligence low-down on political adversaries who were present during the Maha Panchayat at Muzaffarnagar Saturday.
Akhilesh Yadav was looking to find from the leaders of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in western UP about the ground situation, said officials.
A miffed Akhilesh has also summoned Director General of Police Devraj Nagar, on why despite intelligence inputs the situation was mishandled and allowed to spin out of control.
Jayant Singh, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) MP and son of union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, was placed under preventive arrest when he was travelling to the violence-hit areas along with state RLD president Munna Singh Chauhan.
ADG (Law and Order) Arun Kumar said cases have been registered against 1,000 unidentified people and against 90 who have been named.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for the second day Monday was involved in fire fighting exercise, and is learnt to have spoken to senior Congress ministers at the centre on the situation in Muzaffarnagar.
The crackdown on politicians, sources say, is also being undertaken at the behest of Mulayam Singh Yadav who sees a hand of "some political elements" behind the communal violence.
"We have been saying all through that efforts are being done to vitiate and polarize the state on communal lines and our worst fears are now coming true," a senior UP minister said. The minister admitted that the riots had put the state government in the dock.
BJP leader Vinay Katiyar too criticised the state government for trying to give a political hue to the riots, saying the father-son duo of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh were better advised to improve the functioning of their officials rather than going on a witch hunt.