It is painful to learn that our Muslim brethren in Muzaffarnagar feel like strangers in their own land, and compare the situation to 1947. Even after six decades of independence, we have not been able to develop true national integration. Communal elements continue to grow.

The Muzaffarnagar clashes are more than just a political game aimed at winning elections. Prolonged communal tensions will weaken and destabilise the largest democracy. Responsible citizens should help foster a secular attitude among people and pave the way for a true secular democratic republic.

K. Inbasekar,

New Delhi

The report on the plight of Muzaffarnagar residents is disturbing. Muslims in Uttar Pradesh are virtually left to fend for themselves between parties that propagate hatred against them and those which promise to protect them.

Communalism is spreading to rural areas. Politicians find it easier to garner votes by dividing society rather than tread the difficult path of development. The UPA government has failed to fulfil its promise of bringing in an effective bill to prevent communal violence.

Syed Sultan Mohiddin,

Kadapa

In a country which has, for centuries, prided itself on its secular nature, it is a shame that Muslims feel alienated. That said, it would be naïve to say that Hindus are responsible for the state of affairs. An average Hindu, like an average Muslim, is also preoccupied with livelihood issues and is hardly keen on spreading communal poison.

Most certainly, those looting and killing innocent Muslims are communal elements in the name of Hindus, working out a complex formula of divide and rule. The solution does not lie in partitioning villages.

It lies in finding some way that ensures that both communities live together. Our political leaders have an important role to play in assuaging the pain caused to all. Muzaffarnagar is part of India, united in its overall identity, and every citizen there is an Indian first, foremost and always. That should be the message sent out to all residents of the district.

Anuradha Rajan,

Bangalore

That Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav, who paid his first visit to Muzaffarnagar more than two weeks after August 27 when a Muslim youth and two Jats were killed, was shown black flags in the Kawal village reflects the strong resentment of villagers. Their anger was brewing and came to the fore during Mr. Yadav’s visit.

The economic assistance to the victims of the riots is no doubt an attempt at damage control. What the people here are looking at is not financial assistance but a better standard of living, which will come only with an increase in job opportunities and better governance.

Sarthak Abhyudaya,

Hyderabad

Manmohan Singh’s Muzaffarnagar visit has been unnecessarily politicised by the Opposition. As Prime Minister, it is his prerogative to choose the areas he intends to visit. I feel he should have gone there earlier, to console the victims of the communal violence, considering the Akhilesh Yadav government’s indifference to them. His soothing words would have done wonders for the people affected by one of the worst riots to hit the State.

Ganapathi Bhat,

Akola

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