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Published in the 16-30 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Crass discrimination in Atraula riots

The Milli Gazette Online 

Atraula (Balrampur): Atraula in UP’s Balrampur district is a prosperous town. Muslims in this town are on the whole peace-loving, sincere, rich and economically well off. They have attained this prosperity by dint of their honesty and sheer hard work but for this prosperity and goodwill they had to pay a heavy price on the occasion of Holi in March this year. 

This town in fact has been a thorn in the eyes of communal minded persons and parties for a long time who were on the lookout of some excuse and hatching conspiracies to destroy the peace of the town and economy and prosperity of Muslims. Holi this year provided such an opportunity to them or rather they utilised this occasion to execute their nefarious plan.

Though BJP, the political wing of RSS, the boss of all such communal organisations, remained in the back ground VHP, Bajrang Dal and other such organisations at its instance at last succeeded in destroying the peace and prosperity of this town. They took out the Holi procession and used it as a tool to execute their plan of violence and communal riots. Bad characters of these organisations selectively looted shops of Muslims and thereafter set them and their houses on fire. Police and other security forces demonstrated their communal mentality and remained mute and passive spectators. Their criminal silence and inaction further encouraged the rioters and properties of Muslims were reduced to ashes in no time.

While preparing reports of losses of the affected persons for the purpose of government compensation, police and civil authorities were equally biased. Losses of a few majority community members were magnified while those of the minority community members were in very many cases not mentioned at all in their reports and wherever mentioned, their losses were shown much less than the actual. These facts were confirmed by responsible people like Mas’ood Khan, MLA from Tulsipur constituency; Anwar Mahmood Khan, MLA from Atraula; Ms Afsar Jahan, chairperson of Atraula Nagar Palika Parishad and her husband and Samajwadi Party leader, Mohd Idrees Khan, advocate. All these people confirmed this in a joint press conference. 

These people as well as some voluntary organisations toured the city and met the affected people to assess the approximate value of their losses. What the affected persons said clearly reflected the communal mentality of the police and civil authorities. Former President of Atraula Bar Association, Taiyyib Ali Qureshi, Samajwadi Party leader, Ram Sharad Yadav and some other persons and political leaders after touring and meeting the affected people came to the same conclusion and said that because of suppression of the minority community members there is a wave of anger among them against the police and civil authorities. These people have appealed for maintaining communal harmony and assured the affected people of arranging suitable compensation for them.

A delegation of Jamiatul Ulama led by state president Maulana Hayatulla Qasmi also reached Atraula to meet the people and assess their losses. After seeing the conditions of looted and burnt shops at Kargill Market they condemned the indifference and biased attitude of police and civil authorities and advised the people to beware against the anti-social and anti-national elements. 

— MG News Desk

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