Even as BJP MP Hukum Singh was pushed on the back foot after some media reports contradicted his claims of a “Hindu exodus” in Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh's Shamli, BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday said the BJP was fuelling the issue as a “well-thought strategy” and “conspiracy” to instigate large-scale communal riots. She praised the media for “debunking” the BJP’s “propaganda” that “Muslims were forcing Hindus to flee their homes in west UP.”
Attacking the BJP, Ms. Mayawati said the BJP raked up the Kairana issue to “divert attention” from its failure to gain political mileage in the recent Rajya Sabha and MLC elections in UP. She said the BJP had called its two-day national meet in Allahabad with intention to boast about its gains in the elections and blow the bugle for the 2017 Assembly polls, but that plan fell apart. “They have a conspiracy of inciting large scale Hindu-Muslim riots,” the former UP CM said, also criticising the Samajwadi Party government for failing to check the propaganda.
Ms. Mayawati, however, said that migration was an issue of concern in the State but it had been so since independence, where poverty pushed people to large cities, especially from Bundelkhand. Without giving it a caste or communal colour, she said under the SP government, hooliganism and crime, apart from poverty and limited opportunities, were forcing people to migrate.
A non-descript town in Shamli, which adjoins Muzaffarnagar, Kairana has come under the focus after its MP Hukum Singh, who is an accused in the 2013 riots, produced a list of “346 families” he claimed fled the area leaving behind their homes and property after being allegedly targeted and persecuted by another community.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday termed the BJP “dishonest,” accusing it of undermining the development works of his government by raking up the controversy and challenged the party to compete on constructive work. Mr. Yadav rubbished the list of families who allegedly fled from Kairana and said it included persons who had left the town more than 14 years ago due to some incident and others due to various reasons. “We want the truth out in the open. Since polls are near and the BJP has no issue, they want to undermine all our good work,” Mr. Yadav told reporters in Mathura on Monday. On Tuesday, Mr. Yadav met Governor Ram Naik and briefed him about the issue, along with the government's action so far on the Mathura and Dadri incidents.
While the Shamli district administration and police probe the alleged exodus, an eight-member BJP team led by its leader in the State Assembly Suresh Khanna will visit Kairana on Wednesday for inspection. Party MPs Satyapal Singh, Raghav Lakhanpal, Bhola Singh, Satish Gautam, Dharmendra Kashyap and senior whip Radhamohan Das Agarwal and former UP DGP Brij Lal make up the list.
“Isn’t the situation in Kairana worrying? How can taking about an atmosphere of exodus due to fear, extortion, growing misbehaviour and crimes be a conspiracy to incite riots?” BJP spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak asked.
He also wondered that since the administration was still probing the matter, on what basis did Mr. Yadav give a clean chit to the alleged exodus? “If the CM dismisses the issue, gives it a clean chit, then we can very well expect the kind of probe report the officials will submit,” Mr. Pathak said.
The NHRC, which issued notices to the UP government on the alleged exodus, has also directed its DIG (investigation) to depute a team of officers for a spot enquiry in the matter covering all the allegations made in the complaint and submit a report within two weeks.