Exodus of Nandrauli’s Muslims continues

May 20, 2017 10:13 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST - Nandrauli

Construction worker Arif Ali shows the remains of a refreidgerator and a bike that was burnt by rioting mobs on May 11, 2017, in Nandrauli, Sambhal District, Uttar Pradesh.

Construction worker Arif Ali shows the remains of a refreidgerator and a bike that was burnt by rioting mobs on May 11, 2017, in Nandrauli, Sambhal District, Uttar Pradesh.

Twenty-five-year-old Arif Ali is unable to come to terms with the fact that people he has spent his whole life with, burnt down his house and all his possessions.

Along with many other Muslim houses in the small hamlet of Nandrauli in Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Ali’s house was attacked by a mob of from the Yadav community after a Muslim youth and a Yadav girl eloped on May 10.

“It is understandable that one would get angry in a village when a recently married girl, who was about to leave for her in-laws place, elopes with a man of another religion. But why would you attack, loot and burn houses of people who had nothing to do with the elopement?” wonders Mr. Ali, a daily wage labourer.

A week after the incident fear still stalks the Muslims in this small village where they are an extreme minority. The number has dwindled further as a majority of them fled after the May 11 attack. Mr. Ali said out of 50 Muslims households, only around 10-15 were staying due to pressure from the police, who have been deployed in the village.

“All of us are planning to leave because there can be more attacks. The Yadavs are extremely angry as 14 of them have been arrested on charges of rioting, looting and arson,” he added.

Ansar Ali, in his late forties whose house was not attacked, told The Hindu that “Muslims had lived in peace and there had not been a single communal clash in the village. But this elopement and also the patronage of the local BJP MLA Raju Yadav, to the angry Yadavs has something to do with the attack,” he alleged. But the MLA rejected the allegation and instead said he had tried to appeal Muslims not to leave.

The Muslims of Mandrauli mainly belong to two of the lower classes — Faqeers who used to be traditional beggars and Telis, who are in the business of producing flour and cooking oil.

“The fact that a Faqeer boy eloped with a Yadav girl roused her family to fury. It was a different matter that the boy and the girl were neighbours and both their families knew about the ongoing affair,” added Ansar.

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