Muzaffarnagar riot: Families of missing people are living a tragedy even after 5 years
Akhilesh govt had distributed compensation, the then opposition party BJP accused state govt of appeasement. Although this compensation was distributed equally, many were left without any assistance
The hope for justice, for the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots is now waning after five years. The kin of those killed in the riots have not yet received compensation while Courts have also started acquitting the accused in the riots in the absence of sufficient evidence. The worst sufferers are those people whose near and dear ones went missing during the riots and were assumed dead. The number of people, missing and presumed dead are reportedly 27. 15 among them were granted compensation in 2016 by the Akhilesh Yadav government. The tragedy of Jumma from Hadoli village has been discussed the most.
On the night of September 8, 2013, a group of people in Hadoli village of the Shahpur station area in Muzaffarnagar, attacked the minority community. These people were armed with swords, guns, rods and sharp knives. Momina, who is the eyewitness of the entire incident, recalls, “All the people involved in the assault were not Jats, but Jheenvar (Kashyap) were leading the crowd. The mosque was set on fire. Our houses were vandalised. Most of the people left their houses and ran away. We hid ourselves in a house and saved our lives but my brother-in-law Jumma was killed. 52-year old Jumma was stubborn and he did not leave his house. He was a widower and said, even if I die, nothing will happen. I have no responsibilities. And he was killed. The police saved us but even his body was not found.”
Momina now resides in Shikarpur village which is 3 kilometres away from Hadoli. Here on the banks of a pond, 39 Muslims live in a shabby and dirty Basti. She says, “Our lives were saved, and we came to know that Jumma was hacked to death but his body was not recovered. Some people witnessed others being killed. The killers were roaming around the village bragging that they have killed one Muslim. Four more people were stabbed but they survived. The police refused to file an FIR. When the body is not found, you can not even file a murder case.”
The spokesperson of Jamiat e Ulema, Maulana Moosa Kazmi further narrates the harrowing tale, “In October 2013, the administration, after much request and appeal, arranged to get the debris of Jumma’s badly burnt house removed and under the rubble some bones were found. But under a conspiracy, these were described as animal bones. These bones were later sent for DNA test. The DNA report was issued after a year, in which it was confirmed that these were human bones. This perhaps was the first murder case in which the charges were based on the DNA report.
The police registered a case of murder and eliminating evidences based on this report against 8 persons. But all of them are out on bail as of now. Jumma was murdered and burnt inside his own house—it was confirmed by the DNA test and the statements of the eyewitnesses. The then DM Kaushalraj Sharma wrote a report on this and sent it to the concerned department. But Jumma’s relatives have not received even a single rupee as compensation as yet.
Islaman says that the 39 Muslim families who ran away from Hadoli village to save their lives, have not received any compensation. “The villagers have now sold off their houses in the village at half the price and now Jheenvars (Kashyap) have occupied our houses. Whatever money they give us, we have to accept. We can’t do anything, there is no other option for us.”
It is important to note here that after the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Akhilesh Yadav government had claimed to have distributed a compensation worth ₹95 crore to the victims. The families of the deceased were given 15 lakh each, injured and homeless after the riot were given 5 lakhs each. In 2016, the missing 11 people of Lisadh village were also given compensation assuming them dead. The missing people of other villages also received some compensation but Jumma’s family was not given any even when his murder was the most controversial and talked about.
According to Jumma’s brother, Nazeer Ahmad, the people to be given compensation were selected by the local leaders who benefited their own people or those who could bribe them while the people whose lives were completely destroyed by the riots are still struggling to make both ends meet.
After the Akhilesh Yadav government had distributed the compensation, the then opposition party the BJP created a ruckus and accused the state government of appeasement. Although this compensation was distributed equally, hundreds were still left without any assistance.
According to Rashid Ali of Muzaffarnagar, the government officials and local leaders were dishonest in distributing the compensation . Even the method of selecting people for compensation was biased. For example, the victims were selected village wise from the villages of Lank, Bahawadi, Lisadh, Muhammadpur. These were affected by the violence the most and were given the compensation. Because of this, some of the people who were genuinely affected, were not provided with any assistance. Maumtaz of Lisadh village now resides in Joula village and says that nothing is known about his brother who went missing during the riots. People have told him that he was also burnt with his house. Mumtaz somehow escaped. “If we could only get his body, we could at least put him to rest.” he says.
Along with this entire colony now settled near the pond of Shikarpur, there are some other victims who have not received a single penny of compensation from the government.