Lucknow :  The issue of suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives having met the riot victims living in Muzaffarnagar has taken a curious turn with the Delhi police claiming that the LeT operatives had indeed met two people in Muzaffarnagar region, but the latter were not riot victims.

The Delhi police statement appeared to support the claims by Rahul Gandhi three months ago that Pakistan’s ISI had approached disgruntled victims of the communal riots.

The Union home ministry, however, said it is not convinced about the Lashkar link and more investigation is needed to support the Delhi police claim.

But the Samajwadi Party joined the issue saying that the Congress would “do anything and everything” to make Rahul Gandhi’s statement appear true.

In October, Rahul Gandhi had at a rally in Indore claimed that vested interests were behind the Muzaffarnagar riots and that an intelligence officer had told him that Pakistan’s ISI was trying to recruit disgruntled youths.

The statement had sparked a furore with the BJP, Muslim groups and even some victims living in the relief camps strongly criticising Rahul for his claim.

A police official told the media in Delhi on Tuesday (January 7) that the suspected operatives, Mohd Shahid and Mohd Rashid, who were arrested last month from Mewat region of Haryana, had met Liyakat and Zameer, Muzaffarnagar residents, in connection with mobilising funds for construction of a mosque.

Some men, who were allegedly approached, refused to join hands with the Pakistan-based terror group and instead informed the Delhi police. On Monday, they recorded their detailed statements under section 164 CrPC in the chamber of a magistrate at Delhi’s Patiala House court. The sealed statements are now admissible as evidence in court.

Delhi police said that their special cell had last month claimed to have busted a terror module of LeT which was in an “advanced stage” of planning a militant strike in Delhi with the arrest of these two suspected LeT operatives. A search was now on for LeT operatives Abdul Subhan, Aftab Ansari, Aamir Raza Khan and Jawed Baluchi who tried to recruit new cadre in Muzaffarnagar

Commenting on the reports, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan said, “This had to happen because this information was given by Rahul Gandhi months ago, and the Congress would do everything to make their Yuvraj’s statement ring true, said Khan. “How come Rahul Gandhi was informed about something like this, and what sorts of links does he have? He needs to be questioned, if any of this is true,” he added.

While the Congress sought to exult that what Rahul Gandhi said was true, the Bharatiya Janata Party asked the government to explain facts of the “LeT operation.”

Congress leader Digvijay Singh said Rahul Gandhi must be complimented for giving this information to the nation.

Muzaffarnagar had been rocked by communal riots on August 27 last year in the aftermath of the killing of a Muslim youth by two Hindu youths after being accused of sexually harassing their sister. A Muslim mob stoned the two Hindus to death and in the following days clashes spread to other parts of the district as well to Shamli, even as the police failed to deal with the culprits and politicians from various parties gave inflammatory speeches, stoking tension between Hindus and Muslims. More than 60 persons had died in the clashes and more than 50,000 persons had fled from the affected villages and taken shelter in relief camps, which have now been disbanded.

Ratan Mani Lal

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