In a classic case of reaping possible political benefits by default, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP Government in UP may well consolidate its Muslim votebank, courtesy the the findings and the recommendations made by a judicial commission set up by the erstwhile BSP administration.
And the report by the N D Nimesh Commission which investigated the arrest of two terrorists by the UP Police Special Task Force (STF) could aid the ruling party’s designs.
In fact, the SP’s election manifesto for February’s Assembly polls had promised to free the “innocent Muslims”, languishing in the state’s prisons after they were put away on trumped up charges of terrorism.
Actually, the one-man commission had been set up by former Chief Minister Mayawati to pacify the Muslim voters in Azamgarh who had been up in arms over the arrest of Tariq Kasimi and Khalid Muzahid in connection with the serial bomb blasts in Lucknow,Varanasi and Faizabad in 2007 that claimed several lives and injured many more.
And the Muslim voters’ outrage had reached a tipping point during the by-election held in Azamgarh which was necessitated by the resignation of sitting MP Ramakant Yadav, disqualified from the Lok Sabha for human trafficking.
It was BSP candidate Akbar Ahmed Dumpy who reportedly suggested to Mayawati to set up a judicial commission to probe the arrest of Tariq and Khalid in a bid to mollify the Muslim voters.
Meanwhile, the terms of reference of the commission included a probe into the serial blasts and the virtual kidnapping of the two youths by the STF.
However, it was only after the SP Government came to power that the Nimesh Commission submitted its report. And the findings clearly vindicated the SP leadership’s stand that the duo had been falsely implicated.
Crucially, the commission found that the STF had given a concocted version of the events as Tariq and Khalid had been picked up from Azamgarh and Jaunpur districts respectively.