BJP blamed for simmering unrest in riot-affected areas of Uttar Pradesh
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Naresh Tikait accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for failing to control unrest in Muzzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh even after one year of the riots between two communities that claimed immense loss of life and property.
The clashes triggered on August 27, 2013 when a Muslim youth was stabbed to death by two Hindu youths after being accused of sexually harassing their sister. A Muslim mob stoned the two Hindu youths to death. At least 45 people were killed and hundreds were forced to flee their homes in the ensuing riots.
In the following days, the police failed to deal with the perpetrators and politicians from various parties gave inflammatory speeches, stoking tension between Hindus and Muslims who, local people say, had lived in this area in relative harmony since independence in 1947.
The tension was evident at a Hindu Jat farmers' rally on September 7, 2013 to condemn the killing of the Hindu youths. Video footage showed a crowd of several thousand, wielding wooden sticks and swords, listening to speeches by political leaders who called for action against the Muslims.
Tikait accused the BJP and claimed that riots might trigger again because of the simmering discontent among the victims who had not been compensated to move ahead in life.
"Ever since the BJP government has come to power, there is simmering unrest in various areas of the state. No one listens to the plight of the people and because the people are suffering, riots might occur. We are not creating unrest. There are clashes because the affected people are suffering." said Tikait.
The violence which forced authorities to deploy the army and paramilitary forces, impose curfews and revoke gun licences in places where arms are plentiful - has ebbed, but many displaced Muslims refuse to return home, fearing more bloodshed.
Meanwhile, the villagers of Kawal in Muzaffarnagar district had organised a commemoration ceremony as per Hindu tradition to pay homage to the two deceased Hindu youths.
Senior BJP leader and riot-accused Sanjeev Baliyan, said that the two Hindu youths who sacrificed their lives to protect their sister's honour were part of the village family.
"Gaurav and Sachin were part of our family. This is not a message but all those present here in this gathering are part of the same family. And they (Hindu boys) sacrificed their lives to protect their sister who was sexually harassed. They make us proud and we will not tolerate such incidents," said Baliyan.
Security was beefed up in the district where police officials were monitoring the area and a team of Rapid Action Force was also in action.
The state government in Uttar Pradesh state, run by the Samajwadi Party which promotes itself as secular, has been criticised by right-wing nationalists for "being soft" on Muslims and discriminating against Hindus.
(Posted on 28-08-2014)