Jat-Muslim unity in Muzaffarnagar is now bearing some positive results. The latest news from Dulhera in Shahpur, is that 37 Muslim families, who were forced to flee from the village during the violent Muzaffarnagar riots have now returned. Sanjeev Balyan, the former pradhan of this village, has worked tirelessly to bring these Muslims back. Reposing their trust in him, the riot victims have returned to the village.
It’s important to note here that violent riots took place in Muzaffarnagar 5 years ago, which cast a negative impact on the entire country. Continuous efforts were being made to erase the stigma that the riots brought on Muzaffarnagar. Jats and Muslims have been coming closer after Tabbusam Hassan's victory as a RLD candidate in the Kairana Lok Sabha by-election. As a result, the Jats are now working hard to bring back the thousands of Muslims who had fled their homes during the riot.
Sanjeev Balyan had saved dozens of Muslims during the riots. Dulhera village comes under the jurisdiction of the Shahpur police station. A terrible violence had broken out in Kutba-Kutbi area of this region.
It’s a coincidence that another Sanjeev Balyan, who lives in Kutaba, is now an MP from Muzaffarnagar and Satyapal Singh of Kutbi is a minister in the Central Government.
During the riots nearly 65 families had fled from this village but two families chose to continue living in this village at that time too. They were also being protected by Sanjeev Dulhera
During the riots that took place five years ago, Sanjeev was the head of the village Dulhera but he lost in this election. According to Sanjeev, some people of the village were upset about his helping the Muslims. “They used to say that I have become a Muslim. But now everyone agrees with me. They also feel that the riot was politically motivated.”
During the riots nearly 65 families had fled from this village but two families chose to continue living in this village at that time too. They were also being protected by Sanjeev. But now 37 families have returned. These families had been living in the settlements for riot victims in the villages of Basi and Paldi.
Iqbal (56), a member of one of the families which have returned, said that they have had close family relationship with the Jats of the village. They have been taking part in each other’s festivals and various ceremonies. And nothing bad has happened to them except that black day of rioting. “We have forgotten it all and every one knows who orchestrated that riot,” he added.
During the riots, Sanjeev had sheltered about 400 Muslims of the village at that time. Later, with the help of his friends Tez Singh and Satyavir, he had handed them over to Taslim, the chief of Muslim-dominated Paldi village.
Forty-two-year-old Bano said that was the main reason why they trusted Sanjeev. “After five years, our mosques have become animated again and they are safe.”
According to Bashir, who stayed back in the village, there is a feeling of deep remorse on each side after the riots. Here Jats and Muslims work for each other. Jats have land and Muslims used to do plenty of other works.
This thread snapped during and after the riot and Jats were not getting workers for cultivation of their land, the carpenters and blacksmiths too. Both the sides suffered a heavy loss of life and property. But now that old bond trust between the two communities is returning.
Sanjeev said, "The Jat of the village agitated and they used to call me a Muslim but now they too realise their mistake.”
Maulana Musa Qasmi, the local spokesman of Jamiat Ulema Hind, an organisation which worked during the Muzaffarnagar riots. says, “It is a good thing that the feeling of love and harmony is coming back, but it does not mean that criminals should not be punished. Muslims are returning to the villages where no violence took place.”