Communal conflagration breaks out in Muzaffarnagar

Friday’s communal conflagration on the second anniversary of the Muzaffarnagar riots has made people apprehend another cycle of violence.— File photo: AP  

Two years after a series of communal clashes ripped the region apart, the fragile peace in Muzaffarnagar and its vicinity has again become vulnerable. Communal conflagration broke out on Friday, seemingly a mere coincidence, on the second anniversary of the riots, making people apprehend another cycle of violence in a reminder of the deadly violence of 2013.

The incidents include attack on an influential cleric of the area and alleged attack on riot victims when they went to the Jat-dominated Kutba village to take the bricks of their abandoned houses.

Exactly two years ago, in the first week of September, violent clashes started between Jats and Muslims which went on for a week or so, killing 62 people and displacing 50,000 Muslims in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Uttar Pradesh.

What triggered the tension is the attack on the vehicle of Nazeer Ahmad Qasmi, a popular cleric of Muzaffarnagar by some workers of Bajrang Dal on Thursday nightwhen he was on his way home from Delhi.

The news of the attack on the cleric, who belongs to Jansath block of Muzaffarnagar, soon spiralled into a series of rumours in the city. Muslims in Jansath gathered after Friday prayer and demanded stern action against the Bajrang Dal activists.

Muslims in Jansath called for a mahapanchayat on September 1 at a prominent madarssa in the region if the attackers of the cleric are not arrested in the next two days.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out once again in Kutba village which was one of the worst affected villages during the riots. Muslim victims of the 2013 riots who fled Kutba were allegedly beaten by Jats on Friday when some of them came back to the village to get bricks from their homes they abandoned in 2013 to build new houses in other villages where they have settled.

The move was allegedly opposed by the Jat residents of Kutba and who later allegedly attacked the victims. Angry victims went to the police and when nothing worked they blocked the main road which resulted in them getting involved in violent clashes with Jat youths.