Fifty-two-year-old Pramod Jain has been living in Kairana, a subdivision of Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh, since he was born. He was shocked to find that the local BJP MP Hukum Singh had publicly announced that Jain's family is one of the 364 Hindu families, who were allegedly forced to leave Kairana by local Muslims.
“This is shocking that this kind of misinformation is going around about me and my family,” Mr Jain told The Hindu . Two days after Mr Hukum Singh claimed a “Muslim conspiracy” to “turn Kairana into Kashmir by forcing the Hindu residents of the area to leave, The Hindu went to the area to verify his claims.
Like Pramod Jain, Sonu’s name figures in the list as the fourth Hindu who was “forced to leave.” Sonu was not there at his house in Chowk Bazar on Sunday morning but his brother Rohit asks: “How can anybody say that we have left Kairana when we very much work here?” Rohit assists his brother in his small shop.Conspiracy, says MP
When The Hindu confronted the MP about the apparent loopholes in his claims, Mr Singh remained insistent that there was a “conspiracy” behind the Hindus’ migration.
“I have given a list of Hindus who had to flee due to the terror created in this area. Let the administration investigate,” he said.
While no resident of Kairana accepted the claims of “forced migration of Hindus”, some of them, including BJP workers, claimed that a few families had migrated to Shamli and other places in 2014 out of fear, due to the activities of a local “goon” Muqeem Kala.
“Criminals are very active in the area who trouble and harass the business community. Because of that harassment, many families were forced to leave,”said Sompal, a BJP worker. Asked how many families left Kairana, Sompal said that there were over two dozen. Sompal's observation somewhat matched what the local administration found in its door-to-door verification of 200 houses from the list given by the MP. SSP Anil Jha, who is camping in Kairana, said that a large number of people had left in search of employment opportunities in the last 5-10 years. Some of them left for Shamli when it became a district. One member of the four teams which were constituted by the District Magistrate of Shamli, Sujeet Kumar, to investigate the claims, said that “only 15-20 families were found to have migrated from Kairana apparently due to fear of the local criminals and not Muslims. About two dozen people mentioned in the list died and similar number are still staying in the area”.‘Lawyers went to practice’
“[Hukum Singh’s] list includes at least 15 lawyers whom I personally know. They shifted to Shamli in 2012 when it became a district for the very reason that a lawyer would always like to practice in a district court than at a small town court,” said Shailendra, the president of the Kairana Bar Association.
The list included Praveen Garg, who confirmed Shailendra’s claims and also told The Hindu , that “Vicky Kansal who figures on 10th number, and Anuj Mittal whose name is on 13th number very much stay in Kairana.”
But Mr Garg, who is associated with BJP, also said that though Hukum Singh's list might be exaggerated there was a lack of confidence among Hindus with the Samajwadi Party government.
Mr Shailendra said, “There is a difference between Muqeem Kala attacking local businessmen and local Muslims terrorising local Hindus. How could Hukum Singh generalise a case of crime into one of terrorising Hindus? Even Muslims were victims of Muqeem Kala.” Several residents told the The Hindu that not only Hindus but Muslims were also leaving in search of employment and better life.
The BJP is sending a fact-finding team to Kairana on June 15. BJP president Amit Shah referred to a “Hindu exodus” in the ongoing national executive meet in Allahabad.