Focus

The Truth of the Killing Fields of Muzaffarnagar

By Sujoy Dhar

New Delhi: Kawal is a village in the Muzaffarnagar district of western Uttar Pradesh in northern India. This is the village from where the riot started last September. It was reported in newspapers and television channels that in Kawal village a Hindu girl was seduced by a Muslim boy called Shahnawaz. Later, when her brother went to speak to the Muslim boy, the Hindu boy was killed.

Himanshu Kumar speaking to people in Muzaffarnagar

Shahnawaz was a 24-year-old handsome young boy with eight brothers. These seven brother used to stay near Chennai Central Railway Station at Periamet and sell ladies  suits. They all returned to their village after several months.

A day before Shahnawaz was killed, that is on 26 August, he bode farewell to his seven brothers in a train going to Chennai from Muzaffarnagar and he told them he would join them within one or two days.

Next day, on 27th August afternoon, Shahnawaz was on his way to the market with some work. There he collided with Gaurav’s bicycle and there was an argument between them. Thereafter Shahnawaz returned home.

Next day afternoon, when Shahnawaz was going to the mosque for prayer, he saw Gaurav with three other people on a motorcycle standing on the way. Suddenly, they attacked him with knives and gave punches. Shahnawaz fell down screaming.

The murderers escaped, running away towards Nagli village, while Gaurav and Sachin started running towards Mallikpur village. They were caught by the villagers. A mob gathered on the road and beat them up so hard that the duo died on the spot. The crowd over there did not see whether these murderers were Hindus or Muslims. They just killed two murderers who had entered their village and killed a village boy. This incident took place around 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

The SP and Collector reached the village shortly thereafter. In the presence of the former village head (pardhan) Vikram Saini, the police broke into the shutters of the shops of Muslims. Fazal, Afzal and Munna’s shops were looted. Sarfraz’s car was burned.  Muslims were beaten and forced to take shelter in their homes.

SP Saini was also transferred due to the reason that Muslims were attacked in his presence. BJP claims that this action was taken due to false propaganda by Muslims, that Azam Khan threw out the SP and Collector. The transfer of the SP was done same night, and the innocent Muslims whose names were not in FIR were released the next day. Hurriedly police threw a bulk of Muslims behind bars but Shahnawaz’s killer was not caught.

At nearly 4.30 pm Gaurav’s father launched an FIR which failed to mention anything about misbehaviour with any girl. Instead, this FIR mentioned that there was a collision between Shahnawaz’ motor cycle and Gaurav’s cycle.

In Dainik Bhaskar and NDTV, Gaurav’s sister admitted that his brother didn’t even know Shahnawaz, that they never met before and that they did not have any issue.

Yet BJP leaders forcefully preached that the quarrel was because of flirting with the victim’s sister. They also on purpose  included in the FIR the names of Shahnawaz’ two brothers. This was not correct, because at that moment these two brothers were travelling in Dehradun Express on their way to Chennai. These seven brothers came to know about this incident on their way and they got off the train at Ballarshah station and took another train to return to their village.

Next day, in the presence of PAC in Kwal, Sachin and Gaurav’s funeral was organised in the village. After that they attacked Muslims’ houses. Doors of houses were destroyed, goods were looted, belongings of mosques such as fans, inverter etc were also looted. All this while PAC personnel pointed their guns towards Muslims so that they cannot save their property.

The Muslims whose names were included in the FIR by Gaurav’s father surrendered unwilling to the police due to fear.

In an enquiry report by Sanpurn Tiwari, it is declared that at first Shahnawaz was killed and later Gaurav and Sachin were killed by a crowd.

Till date there is no enquiry on the FIR of innocent Shahnawaz’ death, as if that incident means nothing although it sparked the whole series of violence. The truth is that innocent Shahnawaz was killed and he did not get any justice till date and his killers are being honoured openly. Shahnawaz’s father even met Mulayam Singh Yadav regarding this case but still there is no action taken in this case.

Do you think in this country we need to have different laws for different religions? We’ll take the case to the Supreme Court. Remember, Shahnawaz was innocent. The innocent people in the jails have to be granted bail. And the murderers have to be jailed and this case should be proceeded to the Supreme Court. (indilens.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2014 on page no. 1

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