Himanshu Kumar on Muzzaffarnagar after visiting the Relief Camps

I have been visiting camps sheltering riot affected Muslims. The official story is that these are Hindu Muslim riots, but then why are there only Muslim camps? This mischief should be exposed.  I met five Muslim girls hailing from the village of Fugana. They had been raped during these ‘riots’. Although they have filed a report, the rapists are free and full of swagger. No one has been arrested. 

A five-year-old daughter of Fugana’s Altaf has been missing ever since the ‘riots’. When Altaf asked me if I would help locate his daughter, only I know how hard it was to stop tears from rolling down my cheeks. Aasmuhammad, the eighteen-year-old son of the elderly woman Hafeezan has also not been heard from ever since the riots. Hafeezan also asked my help in locating her son. Shafeeq, a young brother of Fugana’s Dilshad is also missing. On 8th of September, 300 Muslim houses were burnt in Fugana. Two individuals were murdered.

Five hundred Muslim families had to flee and were rendered refugees in their own country. The Muslims staying in camps are not angry. Neither were they rearing at the bit to wreak vengeance. But they were definitely bewildered. Bewildered because they did not know for what reason such horrors had been visited upon them, since they had done nothing wrong. But how would these simple folks know that in order for Modi to become Prime Minister, it is necessary to attack Muslims?

On 8th of September, a Muslim colony in the village of ‘Lakh’ was burnt. Eleven Muslims were murdered.

In Fugana, rioters banged on the door of Mukeem’s house. Mukeem was in the house, along with his wife and three daughters. Mukeem and his family fled their house through the back door, and ran towards the fields. Mukeem’s wife was carrying two of the daughters in her lap. The eldest daughter, fourteen-year-old Shahnaz was behind them. The whole family was running as fast as they could. And then Shahnaz fell. Moments later, Mukeem and his wife saw that sword wielding youth who were following them had reached the spot where Shahnaz had fallen. They started to tear her clothes off. Mukeem knew that had he stopped, it would mean certain death for his entire family. Mukeem asked his wife to run. Shahnaz was screaming and imploring her father to help. But Mukeem did not stop. That was the last Mukeem and his family saw of Shahnaz. I met Mukeem today. He showed me a complaint he had filed with the police. In his complaint, he had also provided names of the rioters. Yet not one of these culprits has been arrested.

Noordeen is 90 years old. He said that he had experienced the partition, and that this insanity and inhumanity had been again awakened as if from a deep slumber. Noordeen was not able to flee with his family. The entire Muslim colony of Fugana had been deserted, and now bore a desolate look. Noordeen was now alone in his house. A rioter argued that since he was going to die of hunger anyhow, there was no need to kill Noordeen.

Noordeen stayed put in his house for a full twelve days. He found some dried gram in a sack belonging to his grandson. Since he has no teeth, Noordeen would crush the gram peas and eat them. He was eventually rescued by CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force).

Fugana’s Asif Loi now stays in a camp. On 4th of October,  Asif had gone to try to rescue all the stuff he could salvage from his burnt house. CRPF and police were also there. The Hindus from the village slowly congregated there, and intoned that he would only be allowed to take his belongings if he signed a piece of paper they handed out to him. Bewildered Asif asked how he could sign a blank sheet of paper. The Hindus beat Asif mercilessly and broke his teeth, and all the while police stood their passively watching the whole spectacle.

Children’s school documents have been all burnt along with the houses, so they cannot even go to school. Around eighty thousand muslims are either in relief camps or are living with relatives. Chances are vanishingly small they they will be able to return.

(The writer is a noted Gandhian Activist and was born and brought up in Muzaffarnagar.)

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