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BJP to honour MLAs accused of inciting UP riots at Narendra Modi rally

A controversy broke out on Tuesday over BJP's move to "felicitate" its MLAs Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, accused of inciting communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, at Narendra Modi's rally in Agra on Thursday.

Congress has deplored BJP's decision claiming it will create a "hate situation" while the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh said it reflected the saffron party's culture.

Both Som and Rana are currently out on bail.

Soldiers implement curfew in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar
Soldiers implement curfew in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in September. Pic/AFP

BJP President Rajnath Singh said he was not aware of the decision but accused the SP government of targeting his party as a "face saving" measure in the Muzaffarnagar riots in September in which 60 people were killed.

Singh said the two MLAs were not involved in the communal violence for which the state government should be blamed. "These two MLAs were lodged in jail and NSA was slapped on them by the Samajwadi Party government. The party will be felicitating them at Modi's rally in Agra and tell the people the truth about Muzaffarnagar riots", BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.

Alleging that the state government did not want the truth behind the riots to come out, Pathak said that one of the persons named in the case was made a state guest and provided Y security by the government.

"A person named in the riots is being meted out special treatment while BJP MLAs had to celebrate their festival (Diwali) in jail...This shows the real face of the government, which wanted to gain political mileage out of the sensitive issue", he said.

Som, who was arrested for his alleged role in inciting communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, was recently released on bail by a Deoband court. He was accused of uploading a fake video that played a role in provoking communal tension in Muzaffarnagar. He is also facing allegations of having made inflammatory speeches.

Rana was arrested from Lucknow on September 20 for his alleged role in fanning the communal violence which left 62 persons dead and rendered 40,000 homeless.

"If the MLAs are involved(in violence) and BJP felicitates then it will show that the BJP is involved," said AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry, who is in-charge of Uttar Pradesh. "It(felicitation) will create a heate situation. We deplore it," he added. SP leader Naresh Agarwal said the BJP move was not surprising as it reflected their "culture".

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