While attempts are being made to give a communal colour to migration in western Uttar Pradesh, many residents of Kairana town belonging to various faiths came together this week to refute what they described as the “myth of Hindu exodus” from Shamli town. They said Muslims formed a “huge chunk” of those who had left the town.
Members of civil society groups engaged in making a detailed list of migrant Muslims in Kairana told The Hindu that migration had no communal divide. Aaf Mohammad, who is part of the initiative, submitted to the Shamli administration a first list of 45 Muslim families which had migrated from Kairana to nearby areas such as Panipat and Dehradun in the past one year.
“The claim of Hindu exodus made for communal reasons has already been exposed not only by media coverage but also through door-to-door intensive investigation by the local administration. We thought of highlighting that if Hindus were leaving the town for employment and work, Muslims were doing the same because migration has no religion,” he told The Hindu .
Meharban Chaudhary, office-bearer of the Kairana Media Association and journalist, who is also part of the initiative, said it was “important to counter propaganda”.
Senior officials of Shamli said some residents of Kairana submitted a list of Muslim families who had allegedly left the town in the past one year. “Migration in small western U.P. towns and villages has been on the rise irrespective of religion because of the agrarian crisis in the region,” said Sudhir Panwar from Shamli, who has been studying the agrarian crisis.
Mr. Chaudhary said “Panipat, which is 20 km from Kairana, has evolved as an industrial town hub which offers much better employment opportunities.”