Muzaffarnagar: Return of Gujarat memories

Mansi Sharma

MansiMansi Sharma is a Delhi-based social activist.

She can be contacted at [email protected]

Article courtesy: The Citizen

Recent violence against minorities in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Baghpat shows a pattern similar to Gujarat pogrom of 2002. The only difference probably is the scale of violence unleashed.

Eyewitnesses told us that a 12-year-old girl was gang-raped and killed. Some girls were stripped naked and made to dance in mosques. Several persons were put on saw-machines, which cut them into two pieces and then they were thrown into full blown pyre. Survivors said body parts of several people were chopped off, stacked in polythene bags and then thrown into a canal.

Many victims have lodged FIRs, naming perpetrators. A number of FIRs are registered in various police stations and more are waiting to lodge FIRs. People named in the FIRs are roaming free and have not been arrested despite the gravity of their crimes.

The victims are ready to identify their perpetrators. In some cases police, instead of arresting the accused politicians, allowed them to project themselves as heroes after they courted arrest.

Perpetrators have no remorse over the killings, rapes, loot and plunder. Instead they demonise the victims and accuse them of burning their houses to seek compensation.

In one of the village where killings, rape and arson took place at large scale, a local Jat villager told us not a single casualty happened in the village. He said in order to claim compensation Muslims families have themselves burnt their houses.

Communal clashes are not something new to UP in the recent years. Official reports say about 27 of communal clashes have occurred since Akhilesh Yadav Government was sworn in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

However, September 2013 clashes are distinct and cannot be described as mere communal clashes. The planning, execution, pattern of violence, sexual assaults, looting and brutalities to which dead were subjected to remind us of Gujarat of 2002 and nothing else.

It was similar in many ways: manufacturing the incident; manufacturing consent among people about the incident, spread of misinformation, mobilisation of crowd, media’s dubious role, instant availability of weapons across the region, specific information about Muslim houses, using women’s body to inflict all kinds of violence, attack on children, rape of young girls and women and subsequent killings, loot, arson, burning of houses, absent administration, and mass exodus of people from their native places.

When Amit Shah was sent to the UP as election campaign chief of BJP, it was anticipated that something would happen in the UP soon and efforts would be made to polarise the voters. And it did happen very soon. Now in 2014 if Narendra Modi comes to power in the centre, then it will be disastrous for the secular fabric of the country.

Eve teasing propaganda:

If you believe media reports then an incident of eve teasing triggered ‘communal violence’ and ‘riots’ in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Baghpat in early September. This is nothing but a blatant propaganda. Media suggested that a Muslim boy, Shahnawaz misbehaved with a jat girl in a village called Kawwal. And to teach him a lesson, the girl’s brothers, Gaurav and Sachin, went to Shahnawaz’s house, attacked and killed him. In retaliation, his relatives beat Gaurav and Sachin to death.

Two different FIRs filed by the two sides do not have any mention of eve teasing or any misbehavior with a girl.

An FIR lodged by the family of the two slain brothers has named Shahnawaz as one of the attacker and killer. When reminded about the reports that Shahnawaz was first to be killed, the family of the slain brothers insist that he was killed by an accidental stab of his own relatives during deadly assault on the two brothers. There are contradictory reports about killing of the three youth. The youth were killed after a quarrel over a motor cycle incident. As the narratives of the two sides about the incident are so different, police should have promptly investigated the matter. Police did not investigate into the killings of three boys quickly and failed to provide right information before the people about the killings.

The August 27, 2013 Kawwal incident has been extensively covered by the media. It was a minor accident which turned violent, which saw the murder of Shahnawaz followed by murder of Sachin and Gaurav. But the rumour churning RSS-BJP combine came into action and prepared for a large-scale violence.

Such incidents continued to be used for organising meeting where hate speeches were made, low potential violence was perpetrated and Muslims were targeted for isolated attacks. For example, beard of Mufti of Jesad was forcibly shaved and Mufti of Dhuledi was dragged out of bus and beaten in broad daylight.

On September 5 in Lisarh Inter College thousands of people had gathered. The Maha Panchayat of September 5, 2013, was organised by RSS-BJP combine. Vinod Pramukh conducted the proceedings. Baba Harkishan and Baba Seetaram of VHP and Vijendra – a Sangh worker and relative of Sachin and Gaurav were also present there.

This Panchayat gave a call to attend a Panchayat on September 7. People were openly instructed to come armed for the rally. Despite section 144 in place, they allowed people to gather at Nagla Mandaur on September 7, 2013 for the Mahapanchayat. On September 7, the leaders gave speeches accusing Muslims of resorting to love jihad and taking Hindu girls for marriage.

In subsequent anti-Muslim violence over 50 people were killed, women raped, houses looted and burnt. Media reports suggest that circulation of Kawwal incident video on social media, which later turned out to be an old video of Sialkot, Pakistan, caused anger among Jats and they went berserk attacking minority community to avenge the killings.

But the villages where violence took place are isolated and far from each other. They don’t have any access to social media sites and most people in these villages don’t use whatsapp application in their mobiles.

In spite of it several villagers have seen the video or heard about it. How? Villagers say that several people in different groups were going door to door, roaming in markets at chaurahas motivating and encouraging people to see the video. However, it is unbelievable that after watching the video, villagers all of sudden turned into beasts and started killing their neighbours with whom they were living in peace for decades together. People join violence only when it was well organised and led by an organisations and known leaders.

An incident of alleged eve-teasing was not a sudden precursor to the violence. The pattern of the violence gives an indication that preparation for this large scale carnage was going on for past eight to nine months.

Pre September 7 violence:

On March 2013, an inconsequential incident was converted into an ugly clash. A child set Holika on fire a day before it was destined to be lit. Immediately a Mosque was attacked, the Imam was beaten up, the Quran was burnt. Fearing violence the Muslims ran away leaving their homes. Subsequently, FIR was registered and 30 BJP people were arrested, out of which 3 were booked under NSA. The arrested were Hukum Singh, a local MLA of BJP.

The appointed Sangh workers in each village and town kept hunting for incidents that could be used to fuel the furnace of hate.

On June 2, 2013 a Hindu girl from Haridwar came to Shamli with a Muslim boy and stayed in a hotel. The BJP vigilante got the news and put the charge that the girl has been raped by Muslim boys. Within no time Hukum Singh and Suresh Rana collected their BJP supporters and a crowd of thousand odd hoodlums surrounded the local police stations.

The rampage started, shops of Muslims were looted. Police resorted to lathi charge. In the following month RSS campaign entered into the next phase.

The local leaders of BJP lead by Hukum Singh, Suresh Rana and Bhartendu, started attacking Muslim, men women in markets, on roads and bus stops. At many places Muslims were dragged out of buses and trains and were beaten up. Mosques were attacked. The area of operation (violence) was enlarged to Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur.

On August 21, an innocuous incident of an altercation between two children at Soram was converted into full blown communal riot. The police held Umesh Mallik responsible. He was arrested along with 14 others and 155 persons were booked by the police. The same persons, Umesh Mallik along with Sanjeev Balyan and Hukum Singh on 24 August, 2013 had engineered a riot at MiranPur.

Some media reports suggest that the crowd returning from Mahapanchayat on September 7 was attacked by Muslims and their tractors were burnt and thrown in the nearby canal and in retaliation the crowd became violent and started attacking the Muslims.

The UP administration wants us to believe that it all happened suddenly and the authorities didn’t even get time to realise or understand what was happening.

However, the violence did not start on September 7. In many villages people were attacked from September 5 onwards.

Therefore administration had all the knowledge of events and what turn they could take. In several areas our team visited we saw that houses were broken and ransacked before burning them down. In some places we saw even the ceilings of the houses were broken. It takes immense effort to break the cemented structure of a house and cannot take place in few minutes. And most shocking was the revelation that kerosene, which was used to burn people and their houses, was directly supplied by a local ration dealer.

All this is a reminder of what lies ahead. If perpetrators of this mindless and senseless but planned violence against minorities are let off, they would be encouraged to repeat the experiment somewhere else and then some other place. They are not targeting minorities; they are targeting the very idea of secular India. Time has come to expose this right wing fascism for larger national interest.

 


 

 

  • HAMID IQBAL

    The word secular was inserted into the preamble by the 42nd Amendment 1976 is just a word and it has no meaning in relation to the Indian democracy. This is not the first article i have read about the atrocities of Muslims. If these incidents are to be stopped in future govt has to take hard steps and punish those culprits involved in causing of such genocide of human beings.

  • Akaula

    The lady Mansi Sharma has secular constipation. The riots in Muzafarnagar started as a consequent of some Muslim boys attacking a Hindu girl and then attacking her brother who tried to defended her. It turned violent when UP Govt. legislative member asked police not to arrest or release the Muslim culprits. That Hindu community got infuriated by it and called for Panchayat is understandable. If the victim was the author how would her brothers behaved, allowed it to happen and how should have the community felt. In fact these biased pseudo-secular reporting is teh main source of violence in India. If Govt’s called spade a spade and acted puerly according to law the communities would not feel victimized. Indian secularism is the source of violence in India and media is equally responsible for it.

    • Akhil

      Akaula, the story which you know that muslim boy attacked hindu girl and her brothers is the story that the commercial and communal media propagated throughout the country. But when some teams of activists visited the riot-affected area, there were three stories one which was told by Jats that you are telling that muslim boy eve-teased hindu girl and then attacked her and her brothers, second was that the fight started not over any eve-teasing issue but started between muslim boy and two jat boys regarding bike, this story was told by Muslims and the third story told by Dalits is that the killing of muslim boy is matter of honor-killing. Yes, your second point is correct that whatever the matter was it could be resolved by SP govt. legislation, but they were in contract with the main organizer of riots BJP, RSS for their part of the total political profit gained from the riots.
      Actually Manshi Sharma is not affected by secular constipation, you are affected by irrational constipation. People like you because of their prejudices (evolved due to the environment in which they have grown) simply accepts any views which support you prejudices without putting a question mark on it. They are deeply hurt whenever they see any other aspect of the story which contradicts to their prejudices. Instead of departing from the facts towards the result they lookout for the facts whether they have been manipulated which are essential to prove their prejudice. This phenomena might give them a small-duration happiness or relief but in long-term these irrational ways of analyzing events is harmful for the future of Human Society.
      This quote from a writing (Why I am an Atheist? http://marxists.org/archive/bhagat-singh/1930/10/05.htm) of Bhagat Singh is very much relevant at this point:
      “It is necessary for every person who stands for progress to criticise every tenet of old beliefs. Item by item he has to challenge the efficacy of old faith. He has to analyse and understand all the details. If after rigorous reasoning, one is led to believe in any theory of philosophy, his faith is appreciated. His reasoning may be mistaken and even fallacious. But there is chance that he will be corrected because Reason is the guiding principle of his life. But belief, I should say blind belief is disastrous. It deprives a man of his understanding power and makes him reactionary.

      Any person who claims to be a realist has to challenge the truth of old beliefs. If faith cannot withstand the onslaught of reason, it collapses. After that his task should be to do the groundwork for new philosophy. This is the negative side. After that comes in the positive work in which some material of the olden times can be used to construct the pillars of new philosophy. As far as I am concerned, I admit that I lack sufficient study in this field. I had a great desire to study the Oriental Philosophy, but I could get ample opportunity or sufficient time to do so. But so far as I reject the old time beliefs, it is not a matter of countering belief with belief, rather I can challenge the efficacy of old beliefs with sound arguments. We believe in nature and that human progress depends on the domination of man over nature. There is no conscious power behind it. This is our philosophy.”

      • Akaula Kaula

        That Indian media is biased is well know, but you are the first who called them communal in the sense it is used for BJP/RSS by the media and the Sickularists. That statement shows that you are a serious case of sickularl constipation. If media is biased it is biased against RSS/BJP followers and not against Muslims.

        Who were these teams of activists? How are these trust worthy? What is the source of there funding? Did you ask these questions of yourself, or does this narrative fit your belief.

        You called my statement as irrational, do you even understand what irrational means? Are you saying there is some natural law which will not allow a Muslim boy to act in this manner against a Jat Girl or a Hindu Girl? Only then would my statement be considered irrational. Unfortunate part is that you think having command on English makes you a rational person, a sign of deep inferiority complex. To show some thing is irrational you have to show that the counter proposition is founded on reason, but to that, would be too much to expect from Indian sickularist. Whose very borrowed ideology of Sickularism is contradictory in Indian context. But you would not know that either, would you.

        ” Why I am an atheist ” is this supposed to be some kind of universal principle. This title may be relevant to Judeo-Christian-Islamic followers, why is it at all relevant in Indian context? Your problem is that you have picked these terms from colonial masters and you are using it in Indian context, with out even knowing Indian context. Unfortunate consequences of changing your ancestory to McCaulay and Marx in case on Indians. They are too un-educated to notice the non-sense they spew.
        GET EDUCATED IN INDIAN DARSHANA TRADITION & then come back to talk on such issues as Atheism etc.
        We don’t even have a word for theism or Atheism. Do tell me Astika/NAstika words, these have totally different meanings, but then you would not know that. Would you 😉

        • Akhil

          That Indian media is biased is well know, but you are the first who called them communal in the sense it is used for BJP/RSS by the media and the Sickularists. That statement shows that you are a serious case of sickularl constipation. If media is biased it is biased against RSS/BJP followers and not against Muslims.
          मैंने अंग्रेज़ी में टिप्पणी सिर्फ इसलिए की थी क्योंकि तुम्हारी खुद की टिप्पणी अंग्रेज़ी में थी। अब जैसे कि मुझे मालूम पड़ गया है कि तुम्हें हिन्दी लिखने पढ़ने में कोई परेशानी नहीं है, मैं अपनी टिप्पणी हिन्दी में ही दे रहा हूँ।
          मेरी ऊपरी टिप्पणी में जब मैंने मीडिया को व्यापारिक एवं साम्प्रदायिक कहा है तो मात्र बीजेपी या संघ को निशाना बनाने के लिए नहीं किया है। जब मैं मीडिया को व्यापारिक कह रहा हूँ तो इसका मतलब साफ है कि हर मीडिया घराने का सबसे मुख्य लक्ष्य मुनाफा कमाना है इसके लिए वह सच को झूठ व झूठ को सच बनाने बिल्कुल भी गुरेज़ नहीं करता। अब यह दीघर बात है कि कौनसा मीडिया घराना किस पार्टी का समर्थन कर रहा है। ऐसे मीडिया चैनल भी हैं जो कांग्रेस के भौंपू हैं और ऐसे भी हैं जो भाजपा के लाउड स्पीकर हैं, इक्का दुक्का चैनल बाकी पार्टियों के भी हैं। अब मीडिया को साम्प्रदायिक कहने से मेरा भाव उसके द्वारा ज़मीन सच्चाईयों का ब्यान कर स्थिति पर काबू पाने में मदद करने की बजाये, अपने व अपनी हितकारी पार्टियों के हितों के लिए धार्मिक उन्माद भड़काने वाली खबरें प्रसारित करने से है। इस घटना विशेष में तो मीडिया की वजह से इसमें भूमिका अदा करने वालीं सभी पार्टियों को लाभ हुआ है। हाँ, सबसे ज्यादा लाभ तो भाजपा व संघ को ही हुआ है क्योंकि घटना का मुख्य आयोजक को वही था। और मैं सिर्फ इसी घटना के लिए मीडिया की नकारात्मक भूमिका की बात नहीं कर रहा, आज मीडिया द्वारा जितनी भी खबरों का प्रसारण होता है वह लोगों को जागरूक करने के लिए नहीं बल्कि कंघी, टुथपेस्ट की तरह खबरों को भी माल के रूप में परोसकर अधिक से अधिक मुनाफा कमाने के लिए होता है। तुम बार-बार सेकुलर शब्द का इस्तेमाल कर रहे हो, हालाँकि मैं खुद को सेकुलर नहीं मानता पर मैं तुम्हारी सेकुलरिज़म की परिभाषा ज़रूर जानना चाहूँगा।
          Who were these teams of activists? How are these trust worthy? What is the source of there funding? Did you ask these questions of yourself, or does this narrative fit your belief.
          तुम्हारा यह सवाल बिल्कुल सही है कि मैं इस रिपोर्ट को किस आधार पर सच मान रहा हूँ, तो मेरा जवाब यही है कि मैं इस वेबसाईट पर डाली जा रही सामग्री को काफी दिनों से पढ़ रहा हूँ और आर.एस.एस व भाजपा के चरित्र को भी नज़दीकी से देख समझ रहा हूँ, इस दौर के परिदृश्य के आधार पर और अपनी समझ के आधार पर मैं इस रिपोर्ट को सही मान रहा हूँ। इस रिपोर्ट को सही मानने में मेरे कुछ मित्रों ने भी मेरी मदद की है जो शामली में रहते हैं और इस बात का भी मुझे काफी फायदा पहुँचा कि मैं आर.एस.एस के नोएडा स्थित “गुप्त” मुख्याल्य के आस-पास रहता हूँ। और अगर मान लीजिये कि तुम्हारी बात सही हो तो भी मैं इस घटना को साम्प्रदायिक घटना हरगिज़ नहीं मानता। अब मैं चाहूँगा कि तुम अपने सूत्र बताओ जिनके आधार पर तुम अपनी बात को सही मानते हो।
          You called my statement as irrational, do you even understand what irrational means? Are you saying there is some natural law which will not allow a Muslim boy to act in this manner against a Jat Girl or a Hindu Girl? Only then would my statement be considered irrational. Unfortunate part is that you think having command on English makes you a rational person, a sign of deep inferiority complex.
          मैनें यह कहा ही नहीं कि कोई मुसलिम लड़का किसी हिन्दु लड़की को छेड़ नहीं सकता। मेरे मुँह में अपनी बातें मत ठूसो। बहुत सारे हिन्दु लड़के होंगे जो हिन्दु लड़कियों को छेड़ते होंगे बहुत सारे मुसलिम लड़के होंगे जो मुसलिम लड़कियों को छेड़ते होंगे। जहाँ तक मेरा अनुभव है एक लड़का एक लड़की को इस आधार पर नहीं छेड़ता कि वह हिन्दु है या मुसलिम है…इस लिए अगर किसी जगह कोई ऐसी घटना होती है तो इसको धार्मिक या जातिय रंग दिये बिना एक छेड़छाड़ की घटना के तौर पर ही लिया जाना चाहिए। इस घटना विशेष में यह कल्पना की जा सकती है कि कैसे भाजपा व आर.एस.एस के कार्यकर्ताओं ने लव जेहाद का हऊया खड़ा कर इस घटना की पृष्ठभूमि तैयार की होगी। इस बात से बिल्कुल इनकार नहीं किया जा सकता कि इन दंगो को अंजाम देने में मुसलिम कट्टरपंथियों का भी भरपूर योगदान था। मैं यह कत्तई नहीं समझता कि अंग्रेज़ी बोलने भर से कोई तार्किक हो जाता है अगर मेरी पिछली टिप्पणी ऐसा आभास हुआ हो तो उसके लिए मैं क्षमा चाहता हूँ।
          To show some thing is irrational you have to show that the counter proposition is founded on reason, but to that, would be too much to expect from Indian sickularist. Whose very borrowed ideology of Sickularism is contradictory in Indian context. But you would not know that either, would you.
          तुम्हारी बात को गैर-वैज्ञानिक साबित करने के लिए मैंने अपनी समझ के आधार पर तर्क किया है अब तुम्हारी बारी है। मेरे अनुसार मतभेदों को हल करने का व विचार के विकास का सब से अच्छा तरीका यही है कि एक स्वस्थ बहस की जाये जिसे हार-जीत के तौर पर न देखा जाये।
          ” Why I am an atheist ” is this supposed to be some kind of universal principle.
          भगत सिंह के लेख “मैं नास्तिक क्यूँ हूँ?” का ज़िक्र सिर्फ तर्क व रुढ़ीवादी विचारों के बारे में उनकी राय को प्रदर्शित करने के लिए किया था। वैसे यह काफी अच्छा लेख है और इससे भगत सिंह की विचारधारा के बारे में भी ज्ञात होता है। यह लेख इस लिए भी प्रासंगिक है चूंकि भाजपाई व खाकी चड्डी वाले भी भगत सिंह को अपनाने की कोशिश करते हैं बाकी यह तथ्य तो सर्वज्ञात है कि भगत सिंह व संघियों की सोच में ज़मीन-आसमान का फर्क है।
          This title may be relevant to Judeo-Christian-Islamic followers, why is it at all relevant in Indian context?
          “मैं नास्तिक क्यूँ हूँ?” Judeo-Christian-Islamic followers से कैसे संबद्ध हो गया?
          Your problem is that you have picked these terms from colonial masters and you are using it in Indian context, with out even knowing Indian context.
          यह लेख भगत सिंह का लिखा हुआ है और वह राष्ट्रीय मुक्ति संग्राम के नायक थे…उन्होनें जेल में रहते हुए भारतीय दर्शन का भी अध्य्यन किया था। किन शब्दों को मैं उपनिवेशवादियों से ले रहा हूँ। मैं चाहुँगा कि आप ही मुझे भारतीय दर्शन का ज्ञान दीजिये…सर्वज्ञाता!
          Unfortunate consequences of changing your ancestory to McCaulay and Marx in case on Indians. They are too un-educated to notice the non-sense they spew.
          मैकोले का मैं खुद भी विरोधी हूँ लेकिन अगर वह अज्ञानी होता तो आज तक हम उस शिक्षा व्यवस्था को सरों पर नहीं ढो रहे होते जिसे उसने सोची-समझी साजिश के तहत लागू किया था। मार्क्स के बारे में कुछ जानते भी हो या सिर्फ अपनी अज्ञानता का प्रदर्शन कर रहे हो।
          GET EDUCATED IN INDIAN DARSHANA TRADITION & then come back to talk on such issues as Atheism etc.
          We don’t even have a word for theism or Atheism. Do tell me Astika/NAstika words, these have totally different meanings, but then you would not know that. Would you
          तुम आस्तिक/नास्तिक के ऊपर बहस अलग से शुरु कर सकते हो। भारतीय दर्शन तुम्हारे अनुसार है क्या इस पर भी ज़रा रोशनी डालो…
          बहस जारी रखने के लिए मैं तुम्हें अपने फेसबुक खाते पर भी आमंत्रण देता हूँ…
          https://www.facebook.com/tarksheel.akhil

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