On 20 August, 1987, Shyam Lal Yadav (M.P of Varanasi) gave a thundering speech on the communal riots in India with a focus on Hashimpura. His speech was appreciated from far and wide. Below is an excerpt of that long speech where he targeted V. P. Singh & P.A.C.
“In the riot torn areas, specially in Uttar Pradesh, the role of Police and P.A.C. has been very unfortunate. It Is not a recent development. During the Janata Government, riots took place in my city Varanasi and at that time also the attitude of P.A.C. was the same as it is today. After the riots, the Health Minister, Shri Abdul Lari who hailed from Gorakhpur, wanted to visit the area but the Collector did not allow him to go there. We were not allowed because we belonged to Congress (I) but he too was not allowed to visit the area and he had to come back quite a long distance. Later on, he however managed to enter the area. PAC and Police people did not want that someone from the Government or the representatives of the people may peep into their black deeds. The role of PAC has been of this nature.
“I recollect that Gyani Zail Singh, when he was the Home Minister, had given assurance that a composite peace keeping force will be set up in which people from both the communities will be taken and it will be sent to the riot affected areas. But I am sorry to say that till date, that peace keeping force has nowhere been set up. Sir, riots took place in 1985, 1986 and 1987 in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and other States, ruled both by Congress as well as non-Congress Governments. Peace keeping force has not been established in any of these States.
“I am of the view that efforts towards this have not been made in an effective manner because of which such things happen which put the people in difficulties. These things also create dissatisfaction among the people towards those Government organisations who are responsible for maintaining law and order.
“When PAC is sent in the riot torn areas, people start shouting that P.A.C. is coming. We have ourselves seen in our city that P.A.C. is considered more as a destructor than protector. People are not as much afraid of Hindus or rioters as they fear from P.A.C. Such is the behaviour of its personnel.
“People are afraid of them; they are rather terrorised with the result that the Government is unable to achieve its aim. I, therefore, feel that the Government should fulfil its commitment that it had made in the Parliament. A composite force should be established and wherever riots take place it should be sent there and it should function there without any fear or favour.
“Sir, you might have noticed that whenever C.R.P.F., B.S.F or Army has been posted. calm and peace have been restored. No slogan is raised against them. They restore the peace. Though the Government says repeatedly that it will impart training to the Police and P.A.C., the problem has become incurable.
“In 1971-72, during the course of evidence on the Criminal Procedure Code Bill I toured the entire country. Wherever we went and called people for evidence before the committee, none, except Government officials, expressed confidence and faith in the State Police and people were not ready to give vast powers to the Police. As against this, the Government believes in giving indiscriminate powers to them.
“Whichever Government comes to power, be it in Centre or in the States, be it Janata Government or any other Government, it is ready to give powers to the P.A.C. The State Governments also want to give limitless powers to the police. They are not afraid that tomorrow they may not remain in power and may have to sit on the opposition benches and then these powers will be misutilised against them.
“Had there been the possibility of restoring peace by giving powers to the Police, then it would have been alright but the problem is that the Police has such vast powers today that it can put any person to jail without any hearing. It can kill any person and can show death due to an encounter. No one is going to say anything on this.
“Presently, big ‘revolutionaries’ have come on the scene who are spearheading anti-corruption movement but when Shri •• (V.P Singh’s name was deleted from the Parliament proceedings) was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, 5 thousand innocent people had been killed in the fake encounters. I had myself met him with much difficulty in a Delhi guest house. I told him that it is not proper to apprehend innocent people and kill them and subsequently show them dead in some encounter, and that he was not bothering about this.
“Today he is posing to be a very honest man and a Champion of the farmers. All opposition parties also think that he can be their saviour. What did he do for the poor, the farmers and minorities when he was in the Government?
“Everyone knows that he did nothing. It is not that the moment he has come out of the Government, he has become a messiah. Therefore, the people sitting in the Government should think twice before giving powers to the police. Rather, they should not give powers to the Police.
“(Interruptions) I am talking of all the Governments. You too cannot absolve yourself of this. I am talking of principles. Do not think that things have changed by sitting there instead of here. Recently in Andhra Pradesh, 12 persons were shot dead by the police. Just now you were speaking on riots but in Hyderabad under the very nose of the Government riots went on round the year but no action was taken.”