AN UGLY FACE OF COMMUNAL POLITICS MUZAFFAR NAGAR RIOTS
[Vol 1/ Issue 1/ Dec 2014] [ISSN 2394-9295]
Retd. Addl. Commissioner Revenue Department
The Muzaffarnagar riots were an eye –opener for those people who make everything for granted. The lay in administration, trust deficit between the two communities and politicization of the issue were the main causes of these riots. The fact, that it was first time that riots took place in villages reminded us that something serious happened which was also dangerous for the generations to come. After the riots the ruling and non ruling parties indulged themselves in divisive and vote bank politics signifies that the politics in state was still played on caste, religion and on partisan basis.
As the elections to the Lok sabha was just round the corner, it was expected that the political parties would have behaved in a mature manner and contributed to diffuse the tension, but it happened otherwise. Further, the people in the villages had remained in peace, amity and harmony for generations but the occurrence of those riots even in villages put a serious question mark on the secular aspect of our democracy, which we proudly boast off.
Also, a straight and strong bureaucratic set up, awakened and alert civil society, free and impartial print and electronic media are the essential requirements for maintaining unity and integrity of the nation. The roles of all these factors were found lacking in the sorry state of affairs that happened in Muzaffarnagar.
Key words: Muzaffarnagar riots, eye opener, villages, caste, religion.
The communal riots in District Muzaffarnagar, U.P. is a result of the casual and irresponsible approach of the District Administration and the Stat Government. The communal riots at Muzaffarnagar are being politicized to garner Muslim support in the coming elections. The facts are being distorted and the Jats are being projected as villains by the politicians. The Samajwadi ruling party was all out to woo the Muslims to their fold, which at the last phase boomeranged on it.
The lamps were lit for the self, but light slipped to the neighbour‘s house.
The jat community is primarily agriculturist, hardworking peaceful God fearing and karmyogi in their general conduct. The Jats do not nurture any fanatic fervour or religious bigotism. They are purely secular in their daily life and in their interpersonal relationship. They are miles away from ostentatious religious insignias, rituals or segregation on religious lines. In the rural areas of western U.P. there had been no communal riots since independence. It is a well known fact that no communal riots took place in Western U.P. between Jats and Muslims even in 1947when the entire country was burning with communal frenzy. The proximity and bhaichara between the Jats and Muslims had been traditional and exemplary and they live in peace and harmony. The muslim Jats popularly known as Mule Jatsand the Hindu Jats have common gotras and they are very much part of the kisan fraternity and they were the active participants in all kisan panchayats and other Farmers Andolans. In fact, in the year 1989 when a 22 years old Muslim girl namely Naima was abducted, then Jat farmers under the leadership of Ch.Mahendra Singh Tikait sat on Dharna for 40 days at P.S. Bhopa for the recovery of above mentioned Muslim girl. This famous agitation known as Bhopa Kand was called off on the intervention of the then Chief Minister of U.P. Mr. N.D.Tiwari.
Due to eveteasing an unfortunate incident took place on 27th August, 2013 at village Kawal, Distt.Muzaffarnagar in which three persons namely Gaurav, Sachin and Shahnawaz were killed. Shahnawaz was severely injured by Gaurav and Sachin in the fight that took place between them on account of eveteasing. Before Sachin and Gaurav could escape, they were caught by Shahnawaz‘s family members and other Muslims.They were attacked with sharp knives, bricks and Atta chakki stones and they were beaten to their death. Their heads were crushed badly and both of them died on the spot. Shahnawaz was taken to the hospital and the doctors declared him, brought dead. The police was informed about the killings of three boys. The police from Jansat police station reached the site of killing in Kawal. The then District Magistrate Sh.Surender Singh along with Senior Superintendent of Police Ms. Manzil Saini, also arrived on the spot and enquired about the entire matter. The police searched Shahnawaz‘s house and neighbouring houses and found some people whose clotheswere blood stained. The police arrested seven persons and they were brought to Police Station Jansat. On the intervention of some influential Muslim leaders of Ruling Party from Muzaffarnagar and Lucknow, the District Magistrate Sh.Surender Singh and the Senior Superintendent of Police Ms. Manzil Saini were immediately transferred. The SHO, Police Station Jansat was also ordered by the above mentioned leaders to release the arrested accused persons of the murder of Gaurav and Sachin and not to register original FIR against them. The SHO, P.S. Jansat immediately released six of the seven arrested accused persons. Thereafter the SHO, P.S. Jansat registered a false FIR against the family members of deceased Gaurav and Sachin for the murder of Shahnawaz. Despite the proclamation of prohibitory orders u/s 144 Cr.P.C., thousands of Muslims assembled at Shahid Chowk at Muzaffarnagar on 30.08.2013 and the meeting was addressed by various muslim leaders of different political parties. In the above said meeting Qadir Rana BSP (M.P.), Noor Salim Rana BSP (MLA), Rashid Siddiqui (Samajwadi Party leader), Amir Alam (SP), Saeedujjama Congress (FormerM.P.) and other prominent Muslim leaders were present. The Local Administration and the police authorities did nothing to stop them from violating the prohibitory orders u/s 144 Cr.P.C. On the contrary the District Magistrate and SSP Muzaffarnagar attended that meeting on 30.08.2013 and accepted their representation. The District Magistrate even addressed the above said unlawful assembly. The Muslim leaders of various political parties delivered provocative speeches against the Jats in the above said meeting. Seeing the partial behaviour of the District Administration and police authorities of Muzaffarnagar, it became apparent to the Jats that the local administration was working under the pressue of the Muslim leaders of Ruling Party. Hence, the Jats decided to holda peaceful meeting on 31.08.2013 at Nagla Mandour to protest against the partiality of the District Administration. The Jats held a peaceful meeting at Nagla Mandour and requested the government and the local administration to stop the harassment of innocent Jats in the murder of Shahnawaz and to register the FIR against the persons accused in the murder of Gaurav
and Sachin. In that meeting the Jats also declared that if their demands were not met then a Mahapanchayat would be held at Nagla Mandour on 07.09.2013. The District Administration and police authorities of Muzaffarnagar did nothing to arrest the accused persons in the murder of Gaurav and Sachin and continued to harass the innocent members of jat community for the murder of Shahnawaz. As a result the Mahapanchayat washeld at Nagla Mandour on 07.09.2013. The Jats came to Nagla Mandour from the different districts and from different routes by the different modes of transportation. Most of the Jats from the villages came to Mahapanchayat intractor trollies. The first attack on the Jats was carried out by the Muslimsat village Basikalan while they were going to attend the Mahapanchayat at NaglaMandour on 07.09.2013 in their tractor trollies. Many persons sustained injuries due to pelting of stones and bricks from the house tops by the Muslimsat Basikalan. On arrival at Mahapanchayat the injured persons went to the stage and narrated the story. This aroused the fury and management of the stage became uncontrolable. The organisers and Sober elements were pushed to thebackground. Leaders of BJP and Bajrang Dal took over the charge of stage. They delivered infuriating speeches which surcharged the atmosphere and emotions. Fortunately, there was no incident of violence on the ground of Mahapanchayat.
At the end of Mahapanchayat, Jats started to return to their villages by tractor trollies. They were attacked by Muslims by fire arms, stones and bricks near village Jolly P.S. Bhopa. About 19 tractors and 24 trollies were burnt. Three persons, one each from villages Bhokarheri, Rahmatpur and Baseda were killed by Muslims in this pre-planned attack. People going on route Muzaffarnagar, Mansoorpur Purbaliyan Shahpur were attacked by Muslims of village purbaliyan. Four persons three from village Kakda, one fromVillage Soram both under P.S. Shahpur died in this attack. About 4 dozen Jats sustained injuries in this attack. Two persons were killed at village Mujhedaon road Muzaffarnagar Jansat Mirapur. About a dozen persons sustained injuries here. In addition to the above, three Hindus were killed at Muzaffarnagar.
Consequent to the attack on Jats at threeplaces, Muslims residing in villages Phugana, Kutba Kutbi, Lihsad, Lankh Bahawadi are said to have been attacked by bad elements. Some of their houses were set on fire and as per the news published in papers about 30-35 Muslims are said to have been killed. About 10 Muslims are said to be missing. Three persons out of these missing names were later found involved with the IndianMuzahiddin activities.
The District Administration failed to control the situation as the fire of animosity and revenge spread in rural areas. While Hindus found police as partisan, Muslims found them inefficacious. Hence, it became in evitable to call the Army in aid to civil Authorities. Silent war had started between the two communities. Muslims families not only from riot affected villages but also from other villages of majority population, were evacuated and Shifted to Camps established in Muslim majority towns/villages.
It is worth mentioning that the Secular Credential af Jat Community are proved by the fact, that no incident of violence against Muslims took place in the villages viz. Bhokarheri, Rahmatpur, Baseda, Soram and Kakda of Muzaffarnagar district, whose residents were killed in the communal violence on 07.09.2013 by the Muslims. In addition two persons, namely Virender Singh and Yogender Singh of villages Modkhurd and Mohamdpur Shikst, both under P.S. Bahsuma, district Meerut were also killed by Muslims at Mujhedaon 07.09.2013. About a dozen Jats sustained injuries in this attack. 80 bighasof sugarcane crop of villages Nawada, Kheda, Pali and Nahli under P.S. Sardhana district Meerut was burnt on 01.10.2013by Muslims. On night ¾ October 2013 five tubewells in village Chhur, P.S. Sardhanadistrict Meerut were completely destroyed. It is further stated that two Muslims belonging to village Niloha P.S. Mawana District Meerut were killed by miscreants. Jat Sabha Zila Meerut along with other jat activists held a meeting with Jats and Muslims of Niloha village. A peace committee of 11 persons from each community was constituted to establish peace and harmony in the village.As a result of this, peace has been established in the village and families who had left the village have since returned back. Further Sadbhavana meeting of Jats, Kissan Unions and Muslims was held in police lines at the instance of District Magistrate Meerut Mr. Navdeep Rinwa. These meetings went along way in establishing peace and harmony in Meerut district.
The storm of violence left many problems for both the communities. The Social Activists Groups from both the communities viz Jat Sabha, Zila Meerut, Ghaziabad and Bijnore and Zamiat E-Islami Hind under leadership of Mr. Shaifi Madni (secretary) and Mr. Alouddin (Flah Aam) Ahmed ofMeerut held meetings to proceed together to bring about rapprochement. The Zamai-E-IslamiHind people visited various camps and tried their best to persuade Muslims to return to their villages. They also tried to convince the camps management to impress upon the displaced persons there, to go back to their parental places. On the other hand, Jat Sabha zila Meerut constituted a team of about 20 persons under the leadership of Ch. Aman Singh to visit Jat populated villages and affected families of killed/injured persons. Accordingly, teams of Jats from Meerut visited all affected villages and persons to ascertain the actual loss of lives, properties and crops. It was found that innumerable named and unnamed FIRs have been lodged in different police stations against Jats. The number of FIRs against most of the persons range from 10 to 36, where the commission of offence is reported to have occurred within a span of 2-3 hours. False rape and loot cases have been registered. Where the reporting person denies the filing of the report. There was discrimination in providing compensation for the damage of Tubewells, crops, tractors-trollies and motor cycles. All the impartial officers were transferred to eastern U.P. Hence, it was decided by Jat Sabha Zila Meerut to file a writing the Hon‘ble Supreme Court with a prayer to have an impartial Inquiry and investigation and to put a stop on the excesses and high handedness on the partof the State Govt.
On the other hand, the aforesaid social activists team assured that if muslim families wish to return to their villages, Jat from the concerned village will come to the camps to take muslim families of their village with honour and ensure their safety and Security.To give a boost to the scheme of rehabitation, a meeting of Hindu-Muslim leaders in the presence of IG Meerut Zone Mr. Ashutosh Pandey and SSP Meerut was held at IMA Hall Meerut on27.11.2013. Further on 19.01.2014 a ―Sadhbhavana Sammelan- was held at Zila Panchayat Hall Muzaffarnagar at the instance of Zamait-E-Islami Hind (U.P.) and Uttrakhand. It was attended by Jats from Meerut, Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar.Officials of Jamait-E-Islami Hind viz Maulana Saiyed Zallaluddin Umri(President), Zaman Mohammad Ahmed (Secretary), Zanab Mohammad Asad Galib(President Nagar Palika Sardhana Meerut), Zanab Shaifi Madni and Zanab AlauddinAhmad etc. Another about 150 prominent Muslim leaders attended the meeting.Shri Udhav Ji Maharaj (Mandaleshwar, Prayag
Peeth Allahabad was the ChiefGuest. Representatives of Sikh Sabha Muzaffarnagar, President Arya PartinidhiU.P. Sabha and Rashtriya Adhyaksh Sanyukt Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti Mr.H.P.S. Prihar also addressed the gathering. From the dispassionate analysis ofthe aforesaid facts, the following deductions can be safely drawn :
- Firstly, the persons at the helm of affairs were partisan and administrators were lax and subdued. They could have conveniently averted this tragedy if impartial and strong action against the miscreants had been taken.―Why the hands which extinguish the lightsAt two occasions Administration failed miserably : (ii) On 07.09.2013 when the planned attacks were carried out on the unarmed people returning from Mahapanchayat.
- On 27th Aug. 2013 when Sachin, Gaurav and Shahnawaz were killed aftermath eve teasing incident, and
- of the others city, are not chopped off
- Secondly – Divisive polity has come to stay in our democratic system. Every section of the society is divided on the basis of castes, clans and religions and all the political parties try to use these divided groups as their vote banks in the name of their welfare. Peace and harmony amongst the people is in jeopardy and the integrity of the Nation is being compromised.
- Thirdly – To bring the conditions to normalcy, security of both the communities is to be ensured and sincere efforts are needed to assuage the wounds and pain on both sides. The attitude of teaching lesson with vengeance by either side or by administration is creating hindrance. The displaced Muslims families are to be rehabilitated. They are to be taken back to their respective village with honour and assurance of their security. The conditions laid down in affidavits, given at the time of Sanction of rehabilitation grant of Rs. 5 lacs may be relaxed. Further, false cases of rapes and plunder be immediately closed. Impartial investigation in cases of arson, mischief and murder conducted and criminal proceedings be started only against the actual accused.
In this backdrop a straight and strong bureaucratic set up, awakened and alert civil society, free and impartial print and electronic media, are the essential requirements to save the Unity and Integrity of this country.
―Admittedly thousands can be rendered homeless, but to rehabilitate one is godly.
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