BJP MP backtracks on ‘exodus’ claims

Hukum Singh now says migration from Kairana not ‘communal’; releases fresh list for neighbouring Kandhla.

June 14, 2016 04:01 pm | Updated February 21, 2017 02:01 pm IST - New Delhi

Kairana BJP MP Hukum Singh. File photo

Kairana BJP MP Hukum Singh. File photo

A day after several loopholes were found in his theory of “exodus of Hindus” from Kairana, BJP MP Hukum Singh backtracked from his claims and said that the “migration” of Hindus from Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh was “not communal” in nature and that “people are leaving the region due to law and order problems and threats by goons.”

“I stick to my stand that this is not a Hindu-Muslim issue. This is just a list of people who have left under duress,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.

He said that he would release more such lists in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, Mr. Singh released a list of 63 Hindu families, who had allegedly left under duress from nearby Kandhla. A verification by The Hindu found that the Kandhla list had names of at least three people who are still living in the area. While a few of those who left talked about threats by goons as a reason, most of the 25 people who were interviewed, spoke of migration due to absence of employment opportunities in Kandhla and its vicinity. There were also those who left fearing an outbreak of fresh communal violence.

Satendra Kumar Jain, a 67-year-old businessman from Sarawgyan area has been listed prominently as among those who “fled.” But Mr. Jain still stays in Kandhla. He spoke of “threats from goons last month” and that he had complained about this to the local administration. While he remains in Kandhla, some of his sons and their families have shifted to Dehradun.

“I live here but the business community is not safe here. Hukum Singh is doing politics now but has he ever come to Kandhla to find out how people are living? The political class is colluding with criminals and that is how they survive. No party is different,” he said, while sitting in his shop.

Brahm Singh, a 64-year-old farmer in Shantinagar, Kandhla also figures in the list. The Hindu met his son Surender who said that his father was still engaged in work in a mango orchard in Kandhla.

Two of Mr. Surender’s brothers left Kandhla, after selling their houses at a cheap price following the tensions during the riots.

Sukhpal Singh, a 58-year-old-farmer whose house is close to Shantinagar, was not present at his house but his wife Darshan Devi told The Hindu that they too had not moved anywhere. She said that her husband works in Panipat and comes to Kandhla every alternate day.

“The talk of fear and terror is not true. I wonder why politicians talk like this. It only affects the life of ordinary poor people who struggle hard to make ends meet,” she said. The BJP is due to send a fact-finding team to Kairana on Wednesday to study the alleged “migration.”

The U.P. administration has been conducting a door-to-door survey over the last few days to verify Mr. Hukum Singh’s claims.

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