A day after three Muslim youths were killed in fresh incidents of communal violence in two neighbouring villages of Muzaffarnagar, victims say the clashes could have been prevented had the FIRs related to last month’s communal riots been acted upon.
Afroz, 20, Meherban, 21, and Ajmal, 22, were beaten to death in clashes between members of the Jat community from Muhammadpur Rai Singh and Muslims belonging to Hussainpur villages.
After last month’s clashes in this western U.P. district, in which 62 persons were killed, members of the minority community in Muhammadpur Rai Singh village had fled to Hussainpur.
Shahnawaz Khan, a cousin of the three victims and a resident of Hussainpur, a predominantly Muslim village, told this correspondent that members of the Jat community from Muhammadpur Raisingh village had approached him for reconciliation. This could have ultimately paved the way for over four hundred Muslims returning to their homes.
The fresh violence, argued Mr. Khan, was a big “set back” to the attempts at reconciliation.
He alleged that the local police had not acted on the riot-related FIRs in Muhammadpur Rai Singh village. “The guy who led the team to kill my cousins has an FIR registered against him for killing a member of the minority community in his village. Had the guy been arrested after last month’s riots, this would not have happened,” he said.
Sarfaraz Ahmad, another resident of Hussainpur, claimed that when terrified Hindus were preparing to leave the area during last month’s communal violence, he was among the villagers who assured them “complete protection and safety.”
Mr. Khan categorically denied the allegation that his villagers beat up Rajendra Fauji, a retired army man and a resident of Muhammadpur Rai Singh.
However, Rajender Fauji’s wife was insistent. “My husband was indeed brutally attacked by the minority community members of the neighbouring village,” she said. Villagers of Mohammadpur Rai Singh say this violent attack on Rajinder Fauji set off the clashes.
PTI reports from Lucknow:
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh said the government was trying to normalise the situation through talks. He said whatever happened in Muzaffarnagar was the handiwork of some communal forces. He told party workers in Lucknow that the government would “crush” the forces that were vitiating the atmosphere if they went beyond control. — PTI
Not related: police
Atiq Khan writes from Lucknow:
A top U.P. official has said the twin incidents were not interrelated.
While the three Muslim youths were killed in a clash with Jats in Muhammadpur Rai Singh village under Dhaura Kalan police station area, a woman named Veena, wife of Rajendra Kashyap, was shot dead by unidentified assassins men in Phugana.
State ADG (Law and Order) Mukul Goel told reporters on Thursday that the first incident was the fallout of personal enmity. The motive behind the second incident in Phugana was not clear, he said.
The two incidents that happened in quick succession underlined the fact that communal tension was still simmering in Muzaffarnagar and a small incident was liable to spark a conflagration, as the one witnessed in September.
Describing the situation as normal, Mr. Goel, however, admitted that tension prevailed in the two villages. Six additional companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary had been deployed in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts, Mr. Goel said.