For the last few years this identity of Shamli as prosperous disctrict is under scrutiny due to demographic offensive opted by the anti-social elements. More than 350 Hindu families of Kairana are forced to leave their ancestral houses and thriving business establishments due to this menace. Organiser presents a report with some untold stories of persecution:
“The business activities were almost impossible due to growing criminalisation. Time again, criminal gangs of Muslim community would demand for extortion money. Refusal of which could result into anything with you or your family members. Repeated complaints to the police failed to act against them.” This is not a story of Islamic State where people are forced to migrate due to terrorist persecution but this is a story of Madhusudan, a steel trader from Kairana of Shamli district in Western Uttar Pradesh. He migrated to Delhi about 2 years ago. A land nurtured by both Ganga and Yamuna and known to be capital of the magnanimous King Karna in the Mahabharat period has turned into place of criminals, land-grabbers and rapists. The demographic offensive opted by these elements is so heinous that the Hindus of this tow are forced to migrate out of terror. Mind you Madhusudan is not alone.
Kairana turning into Kashmir
If local parliamentarian Hukum Singh to be believed, the number of Hindu families who fled Kairana town alone is more than 250. According to him, “There is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in the entire district of Shamli, and many Hindu business establishments are facing extortion threats, particularly in Kairana. Due to this, 6 famous establishments from Kairana have disappeared, and 250 Hindu families have fled the area.” He often equates the situation with that of pundits in Kashmir who were terrorised and forced to flee the Kashmir Valley. While substantiating his claim, The member of Parliament (MP) says, “A minor girl from a Hindu Kashyap family was gang-raped when both her father & mother were out for work. No action has been taken in this case even 6 months after the family filed an FIR. A Hindu woman was gang-raped and murdered in village Akbarpur Sunhaiti, and the police, instead of apprehending the real culprits, arrested the deceased woman’s nephew and brother-in-law. The families of victims were being threatened by the actual perpetrators to not pursue the case. The MP has personally spoken to the Superintendent Police (SP) for this case, but is not satisfied with the response. The Hindu Kashyap community has completely abandoned the Durbar Khurd locality in Kairana. In Alipur village, the same Kashyap community is facing continuous attacks.” He himself met the Union minister for Home Affairs and handed over the supporting documents on June 1, 2016 regarding the same. At a press conference, the MP also claimed that there have been at least 10 communal killings in the town, that has become a “new Kashmir”, in the past three years. Singh also claimed that he had met Union home minister Rajnath Singh in this regard last week. “I have met home minister Rajnath Singh and he assured me that he would visit Kairana in June-end to take stock of the ground reality,” said Hukum Singh.
The MP also released another list of 11 people killed for refusing to give money to extortionists. “On August 24, 2016, traders Shiv Kumar and Rajendra Kumar, who were siblings, were gunned down at their shop within a week of similar killing of another grocery trader, Vinod Sangal, on August 16. In both the cases, the businessmen got extortion calls and when they refused, they were killed. Other such victims include an agent of Mafatlal Industries who was killed at Nirmal Crossing and a bullion trader, Satyaprakash Jain, who was shot dead in his shop. Similarly, jeweller Jashwant Verma and his wife were killed at their residence in Aldarmiyan locality. Another jeweller, Shrichand Jain, was killed in his shop,” said the MP.
“This is exactly what had happened in Kashmir. Businessmen are being targeted in a bid to grab their establishments and properties. These people are forced to migrate leaving their ancestral properties behind. And in the hurry, they have no other choice but to sell their properties far below the prevailing market price or just abandon them,” the MP said.
Meanwhile, a jeweller at Gumbad locality in Kairana said on condition of anonymity that after the killing of Alok Kumar, jeweller Hari Prakash's son, the entire family shifted to Saharanpur. "The Hindu population in the locality has declined to 30% of the total population from over 60% a decade ago. This is a matter of concern," he said.
The centre has taken the issue seriously and asked Intelligence agencies to identify the reasons behind migration of Hindus. Countering the allegations, District President of Samajwadi Party says, “BJP is raising this issue as assembly elections are there next year. Exodus of Hindu families is not a sudden phenomenon that occurred yesterday. This is just an election gimmick.” While other political parties like Congress, RLD and BSP are keeping tactical silence on the issue. Unfortunately, The UP administration and ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders have summarily dismissed the observations made by Hukum Singh, and repeated the ‘all is well’ mantra. Sujit kumar, District Collector of Shamli says, “There is no clear evidence of forced migration. We have no such incident recorded. We are monitoring the situation continuously.”
The Demographic Offensive
The demography plays a strange role in socio-economic dynamics. The ground realities of Kairana tell many stories of human rights violations of religious minority Hindus in some pockets of this region. As J K Bajaj, famous social scientists and author of the book on Indian Demographics, exaplins in his blog, A pocket of intense Muslim presence and growth in Uttar Pradesh, “within UP, Muslims are particularly concentrated in a few districts, while their presence in many other districts, especially in the southwest is considerably below the average of the State. The most intense of the pockets of high Muslim presence in UP comprises eight contiguous districts of Saharnpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Meerut and Bareilly. These districts lie in the northwest of the State and are in the near vicinity of Delhi.” According to the Census study done by the centre for Policy Studies, “Muslim dominance seems much more marked at the level of the sub-districts. There are a total of 46 sub-districts in the eight districts of northwest UP and Hardwar of Uttarakhand that comprise this pocket. Muslim presence in 10 of these sub-districts is above 50 per cent; in three of these, Muslims form more than 60 percent of the population. These 10 Muslim-majority sub-districts are spread over seven districts: Rampur, Moradabad, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. In another 12 of the 46 sub-districts in the region, Muslim presence is between 40 and 50 percent.” Many people believe that the root cause of the Hindu persecution in the region.
As a local from Kairana, Ranjit Saini says, “Growing extremism and criminalisation of Muslim youth has made the lives of Hindus miserable. Hindus are terrorised because of robberies, extortions, killings, eve-teasing and rapes of Hindu girls etc. As police and local administration did not pay any heed to repeated complaints against these elements, Hindus were forced to migrate. This has not happened in a day or two but a part of larger strategy to spread Muslim population with aggressive demographic invasion and make Kairana Hindu-free.”
Due to this horrifying reality, we can experience a strange emptiness in Kairana. Vacant houses and crumbling shops and business establishments tell the stories of gruesome reality. Many houses are marked with signs of ‘On Sell’ with chalks. After investigation it was found that from the localities like Aryapuri, Kayasthawada, Aal Kalla, Gumbad, Begum Pura, Panipat Road etc many Hindus are migrated to other states like Haryana, Delhi and Uttarakhand. A trader from Kairana who is settled sown at Dehradun in 2015, Vicky Bansal, tells, “I had a Sanitary-ware shop. Refusing to supply goods on credit would make the Muslim customers aggressive and they would get together to threaten. After providing them some credit, you had no option but to forget that amount. How long we can do business there.” Such many stories are coming up in around Kairana telling the troubling realities of demographic changes.
I was trading in steel and iron Kairana. The situation evolved in such a way that I was forced to vacate my house, shop and shift to Muzaffarnagar. On Novermber 30, 2013, four armed Muslim youth came to me and informed me that a phone call would come which I have to respond positively. The next day, a call came asking extortion money of Rs 10 lac. After complaining, local administration provided with two security guards at our home, who were eventually removed. Within few days, my own brother Rajendra Kumar and cousin brother Shiv Kumar were murdered in a broad day light on August 24, 2014. After this incident, I was under continuous threat so has no option but to migrate. Finally in January 2015, I am shifted to Muzzaffarnagar. The irony is, the same state government which offers lacs of rupees and flats for killing of a Muslim person, paid me Rs one lac which I returned immediately.
Somavati had been working as an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) worker under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) for the last eight years. As the ASHA worker for the whole village, she also worked in the Muslim neighbourhood and visited their homes. She had three children. Husband being a heart patient, Somavati was the sole bread winner in the family.
Around 3 months before her death, Somavati had gone to the house of a Muslim family to provide maternal care information to a woman with a newborn baby. At the end of that visit, Shahid, the young brother-in-law of the Muslim woman, pulled Somavati aside and asked her to have a physical relationship with him. Since that visit, Shahid started stalking her and pressurising her to have a relationship with him. He even asked her to leave her family and marry him and made threats that ‘either she would become his or one of them would die’. Somavati kept resisting him.
Sometime after this, Shahid and some other Muslims from the village gang-raped Somavati in a nearby turmeric field, and video recorded the deed. Shahid then started blackmailing her to keep quiet and accede to his demands for a physical relationship, otherwise he would make the video public. Somavati kept quiet about what had occurred due to shame and fear that the rape video would be made public.
A few days before her death, three different clips of the rape video started circulating via WhatsApp in the village. According to the villagers who have seen it, the video indicates use of force and resistance by Somavati, and presence of more than one man.
The day after the video became known to her family, on January 12, 2016, Somavati took her sick elder son to a clinic in Purqazi, Muzaffarnagar. She then asked her son to return home with his medicine, saying that she would follow soon. A few hours later, her husband was informed by someone that Somavati was lying by the roadside. She was immediately rushed to hospital, but declared dead.
Out of the 5 perpetrators that he believed were involved in the rape of his wife, only 3 had been arrested. 2 of those arrested, Chand Mian and Salman, were already out on bail, with only the main perpetrator Shahid still in jail. He said that the Sub-divisional magistrate was initially offering only Rs 30,000 as compensation. But ASHA workers who gathered from adjoining districts blocked the highway in protest and demanded more compensation for the family. He said it was these protests, the efforts of Hindu activists from VHP, Bajrang Dal and the visit of BJP MP & Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan that finally resulted in the family getting Rs 5 lakh in compensation. But Suraj is still not sure whether his wife committed suicide or there was foul play involved.
Kairana not Aberration
The phenomenon of demographic offensive is not limited to Kairana. Many town of Shamli and Mizaffarnagar districts are facing the same menace. Tilu and Sharmanand Kashyap of Moi village who are into farming say three months ago three families of our village left their ancestral homes. The adjoining localities of Kairana, Jharkhedi, Titarwada, Unchakhedi, Ramda, Malakpur etc are facing same fate. Most of these villages are facing demographic imbalance and invasion. Anil from Malakpur says, Hindu migration is continued for last many years. Nobody is trying to stop this. Vote-bank politics keep their lips tight. Continuing the same story, Sunil from the same village says, everybody is terrorised with the anti-social Muslim youth. This is leading to forced migration.
Another village called Panjeeth is experiencing the same. A local, namely Surendra Singh Saini says, “It is difficult for girls to get out of their houses. No girl or women feel safe here. Eve-teasing or molesting of even school going girls are common incidents in this area. Opposition to which lead to physical attacks. When it comes to your dignity and honour, you cannot tolerate beyond a point. Then, there is no option but to migrate. Recently, more than 20 families of Panjeeth have migrated to other places.
The ‘ISI’ Connection
The episodes of persecution and criminalisation are suspected to have link with ISI, the intelligence agency of Pakistan. In January 2015, Uttar Pradesh government had written to the Union Home Ministry over links of some youth with the ISI. The arrest of Asif from Meerut in June 2014 was the bais of this suspicion. Importantly, police has arrested many ISI agents in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Bagpat, Hapur, Bareili and Saharanpur directs. These alleged linkages make the things more dangerous for the security of the nation.
The administration may be in denial mode. Politicians are busy in allegations and counter allegations but the issues that come of these pockets of Western UP are not limited to Human rights violations of Hindus but are also linked to national security. Neglecting them can cost a lot not only to the locals but to us as a nation.
By Arun Kumar Singh/ Anita Tyagi