Back in Time is ED’s newspaper type column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred.
For this incident, we go back in time to 2013.
Muzaffarnagar, Tuesday, 27 August: Simmering tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities rose to the surface yesterday as violent clashes were reported in Muzaffarnagar.
The confrontation surged between the Jats and Muslims, in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar, on 27th August. The cause leading to the riots largely remains an issue of dispute between the two communities.
Allegedly, a girl was eve-teased and harassed by a Muslim youth in Kawal village. The repercussions of this incident were that the Hindu relatives of the molested girl, Sachin Singh and Gaurav Singh, killed the accused, Shahnawaz Qureshi. The two youth were hunted down when they tried to escape from the scene of the crime and murdered in cold blood.
The news of the killings spread like wildfire and consequently, things turned brutal causing the members of the two communities to attack each other. The police claimed the bodies of the deceased and brought the situation under temporary control.
The Superintendent of Police and the District Magistrate reached the spot of murder and arrested all seven accused. However, Government of UP immediately stepped in and transferred the SP and DM, thereby releasing the culprits.
Mayawati aide, Naseemuddin Siddhiqui, commented, “The violence in Muzaffarnagar is on and government is a mute spectator to it…The government is doing politics of communalism” raising questions on the credibility of the State government.
Panic has set in as the situation further worsens. The Provincial Armed Constabulary has been deployed in the terror struck region as an atmosphere of fear and insecurity sets in.
Post Scriptum: On 17th September, 2013 when the curfew was lifted from the riot hit area and the army withdrawn, more than 50000 people had been displaced, 92 injured and 62 killed.
It has been described as “one of the worst riots in the history of Uttar Pradesh” with the state government being held guilty by the Supreme Court on accounts of negligence and failure to curb the situation from growing.
Non-bailable warrants were issued against 16 politicians for inciting the people through fake videos and hate speeches. The blatant disregard by the administration in controlling the anti-socials just helped spread the fire.
In the end, the Muzaffarnagar riots are further evidence of how distortion of facts, misuse of social media and incompetency of State administration can trigger such large-scale violence.