New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had stirred up a hornet's nest in October 2013 when he claimed that the Muzaffarnagar riot victims were being approached by the Lashkar-e-Toiba. After almost two months of the sensational statement, Delhi Police says that the terror outfit tried to contact young men in Uttar Pradesh but they were not necessarily riot victims.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police has busted a LeT module that was trying to recruit people from riot hit areas.
The statements of two men living in Muzzaffarnagar exposed the alleged plot. They say they had been contacted by two Lashkar operatives Mohammed Rashid and Mohammed Shahid who were later arrested in December 2013.
"They were being roped in to carry out a kidnapping mission which would give them money to build mosques," said SN Srivastava, Special Commissioner of Delhi Police.
Sources say that the witnesses claim the two alleged Lashkar operatives tried to lure them into the module to avenge Muzaffarnagar riots. LeT commander Javed Baluchi based out of Pakistan was in charge of the operation and had asked the operatives to motivate young men in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar by showing them videos of inflammatory speeches.
The Home Ministry though says the Lashkar angle has not yet been proven convincingly. It also says there is no evidence that those in relief camps were contacted, as insinuated by Rahul Gandhi.
Union Minister of Home (State) RPN Singh too said, "Let's not jump to conclusions."
But the fact is the Delhi police has witness statements and are looking for more potential Lashkar operatives who could be active in the riot-hit districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Sources in Special Cell have indicated there is a definite pattern of these operations. The 1993 Bombay blasts were preceded by riots there. Most of the Indian Mujahideen chargesheet say that the indoctrination happened after the 2002 Gujarat riots. Now police claims that the LeT intends to use Muzzaffarnagar riots as the next happy hunting ground.
Meanwhile, politics continues over Rahul's claims. The UP BJP has asked for a detailed clarification while the Samajwadi Party demanded the Congress Vice President be questioned.
UP BJP leader Laxmikant Bajpai asked, "If let module has been able to reach Muzaffarnagar relief camps then its a breach of internal security. Both Centre and state governments should explain how this happened. It seems that there was a concerted effort to ensure that what Rahul Gandhi said must turn out to be true. No explanation has come on Rahul Gandhi's earlier statement."
BJP chief Rajnath Singh reacted to this saying that a serious investigation should be carried out into the entire incident.
At the same time, the Congress is citing the report as vindication that Rahul Gandhi's statement about the ISI trying to lure riot victims was correct.
"I don't think that whatever the honorable Congress Vice President said needs any substantiation by any investigative agency, The fact is when you have a polarised environment, when you have a breakdown of communal harmony, forces which are inimical to India do try to fish in troubled waters", said Union I&B Minister Manish Tewari.