New Delhi, September 24: Muzaffarnagar has been a rather peaceful place – no riots have actually taken place there from the time of independence in 1947. The recent riots are the result of a political conspiracy to polarize the situation against the Muslims and instil fear in them, said Mr. Mohammad Ahmed, Secretary for National and Community Affairs, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. He was speaking at the weekly special program on Saturday here at the headquarters of the Jamaat.
JIH Secretary had led a delegation of the Jamaat to the riot affected areas in Muzaffarnagar and neighboring Shamli districts last week. In his one-hour speech he elaborated on what his delegation observed there, the background of the present situation and relief and rehabilitation activities of the Jamaat in the affected areas.
The caste (biradri) identity is so strong in the region, that any inter-caste marriages usually leads to “honour killings” and Muzaffarnagar has one of the districts having highest rate of honour killings in India, said Mr. Ahmed.
Highlighting that the recent communal riot in Muzaffarnagar was politically engineered, he said: “The actual incident responsible for the riots took place in the village Burhana, yet the riots never happened there. The rioting started in another village 50 kms far from it. Therefore, it is easy to say that this is a politically sponsored riot.”
While comparing Muzaffarnagar riots with Gujarat pogrom 2002, he categorically held BJP responsible for the riots in the Western Uttar Pradesh in the first week of September.
“A comparison can be made with the Gujarat Riots 2002 since in both cases the BJP was responsible for inciting the violence against the Muslims and only targeted low income, less influential and entirely helpless members of the society,” he said adding that the party which has gained the most from this incident is the BJP. “The BJP’s political strategy here is to divide the Jaat and Muslim communities so that they can divide the votes on communal lines.”
He also criticized both state and central government for their inaction to control the situation immediately. “Both governments, the state and central, were silent spectators. They did nothing.”
About relief and rehabilitation of the riot victims, he said the people of Muzaffarnagar have no immediate need for food, clothes or shelter. What has affected them the most is their displacement. They want to be able to go back to their own homes. They require legal help and moral support also.
“Jamaat has done a lot of relief work, just as they did in Assam,” said Mr. Ahmed adding that Ameer-e Jamaat has spoken to Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Azam Khan and out of that talk it was concluded that two main things are required: 1) To get the displaced people back to their homes; 2) Compensation given to the people affected by the riots. “We need to talk to Jaat leaders so that they in turn are able to give hope to the people.”
Jamaat Secretary also demanded immediate passage of the communal violence bill to curb the menace of communal riots.
“The Communal Violence Bill should be passed so that the politicians who give inflammatory speeches can be charged according to it. There should also be better representation of Muslims in the military and the police force. With better representation, such riots have a better chance of being controlled,” he demanded.