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Issue No.: 561 | March 2014
 

Muzaffarnagar Riots: Democracy Under Threat

Dr. R. K. Cheema
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Muzaffarnagar, a medieval town, had been a secular stronghold for centuries and today has been left scarred, ravaged and numbed into silence.The genesis of the violence and riots in Muzaffarnagar is traced to an eve-teasing incident in Kawal village on 27 August 2014. More than a week long, the riots turned communal, challenging the democratic system and the attitude of the political parties in UP. The political
parties should take the responsibility of creating division amongst the Jats and the Muslims and also deviating from their claims of social inclusion. Politics, police and media – all together have added to the grievances of the marginalised and weaker sections of the people of Muzaffarnagar and villages in the vicinity. 

Lisad village in Shamli district, a home to more than 200 Muslim families was vandalized and burnt to ashes. Mosques and Madarsas were attacked in Lisad. All signs of economic independence and growth were targeted exhibiting institutionalized rioting. Heartless people proclaimed their wicked acts. The height of violence was the use of wood cutting machine to butcher children who were later burnt. Such acts cannot be ever pardoned and compensated in any form. 147 villages in the Shamli, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar districts were affected by the riots. The total number of displaced, even according to conservative official estimates, was close to 40,000 people. Huge support came in from the locals. The affected villages were about 20 kms from the relief camps which the riot victims found difficult to approach. The bewildered Muslims of Kawal were unable to reconcile the harsh allegations of being beneficiaries of concessions by the Samajwadi Party, with the everyday reality of living in their own villages under the protection of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC). A blame game started and the Congress was blamed for not placing the Communal Violence Bill in Parliament.

It seems eve teasing was just an excuse that acted as a spark to the issue of communal disturbances in the region. The negligence and dispassionate and unresponsive attitude of the UP government further aggravated the situation. Even today, in the 21st century there are large number of villages which do not have proper road connectivity and safe and secure environment in public places for women. If Akhilesh Yadav – a young and present generation CM is unable to gauge the seriousness of such situations then no youth would have faith in him and come forward to join politics.

The Human Right of prevention from communal and targeted violence has been violated. The police administration and judiciary have been inactive in stopping violence and are equally liable to such culpabale offences. Once the seeds of communal disturbances are sown in Muzaffarnagar, it will not be the same ever.

Dr. R. K. CHEEMA
Department of History,
G. N. Khalsa College
 
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