“Every day for seven or eight days, they were harassing me on my way to school,” says the 16-year-old, describing the circumstances leading to the triple murders that are supposed to have triggered the Muzaffarnagar violence.
“When I came home and told my family, my uncle Gaurav said he would come with me till Kawwal,” she says. “That day when we reached Kawwal and they started harassing me again, Uncle protested. Sachin Uncle too came by. He told me to go home they would sort things out. I came back home. After that I don’t know what happened.”
More than three weeks later, with both her uncles and her alleged tormentor dead, and Uttar Pradesh plunged into its worst communal clashes in a decade, life has come to a standstill for her and her friends, none of whom have since gone back to school, Bharti Inter College, 8 km from her village.
The family, mourning the deaths of Gaurav and Sachin, ask why only one of the seven men named in the FIR has been arrested. Police say non-bailable warrants have been issued and stringent sections invoked. All that remains now is to find the men to be punished.
The genesis of the Muzaffarnagar riots is not just that of two communities that after decades of coexistence turned against each other. It is also the story of how objectives such as the right to education are hamstrung by social realities. While she was going to school, the 16-year-old would cycle 2 km every day and then take the bus to Nangla Manjor. Kawwal, where her alleged molester lived, was where she would park her bicycle before catching the bus.
She had been making the difficult trip for some time but others, including a cousin of hers, are studying through correspondence rather than go through such a routine. “We can’t go out. Once all this cools down they are sure to target us again,” the cousin says.
In Kawwal, Mohd Salim, whose son Shahnawaz was killed the same day, claims there was no harassment and it all happened because there was a minor collision of bikes. “What harassment, what teasing? Shahnawaz stayed here only one-and-a-half months a year. He worked in Chennai, was here for a week or so before his death to attend to an ailing cousin. They attacked us after their bikes collided and killed my son,” Salim says.
In Mallikpura, there are no takers for his version. Young girls say harassment at Kawwal is not new. Villagers wrote to CM Akhilesh Yadav on September 15 for a road bypassing Kawwal, citing problems faced by their women and girls.
UP House panel to probe sting operation
Lucknow: The UP assembly has decided to constitute a committee to probe the sting operation aired by a TV channel where two police officers reportedly claimed delaying action to contain the Muzaffarnagar riots under “political pressure”. Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey said: “A sting operation aired on TV has reportedly shown the involvement of a senior minister and several others. I propose to constitute a parliamentary committee for probing the authenticity of the sting operation.” ENS
ADG goes on leave
Lucknow: Muzaffarnagar riots have caused a turmoil in UP police also with ADG (Law & Order) Arun Kumar proceeding for leave on Thursday following a controversy that he does not want to continue on the post and wants to go on central deputation. The ADG had switched off his mobile phones and could not be reached for comment. ENS
Riots have left Gujarat behind: Alvi
New Delhi: Congress leader Rashid Alvi Thursday said the Muzaffarnagar riots have left Gujarat behind. Alvi was allegedly detained by the UP Police after he visited Loni. “I have visited Gujarat also. But, Muzaffarnagar has left Gujarat behind,” he said, pointing to problems faced by Muslims in the area. PTi