This Article is From Sep 15, 2013

Muzaffarnagar riots: men police can't find are easily located

The Rapid Action Force in action in violence-hit Muzaffarnagar (AFP photo)

Muzaffarnagar: On the road outside Bhokkadhedi, an hour from Muzaffarnagar, there is a charred patch, a reminder of violence that broke out on September 7.  

That day, Yogesh Kumar was returning from the Mahapanchayat in Nagla Mandaur in a convoy of tractor-trolleys. The rally was held to protest what the Jats called one-sided behaviour by the UP government in the killing of two Jat boys in the village of Kawwal. The boys were killed after they stabbed to death a boy called Shahnawaz.

Yogesh claims that as they drew near the village of Jhauli, a large group of Muslims attacked them with knives and rods. His father, the sarpanch of the village, Sonvir, died in the attack. Yoesh alleges that police were present at the spot of the attack, but did nothing.

Three Jat villagers died that day. One of them was 32-year-old Ajai Kumar from adjoining Rehmatpur, where there's the same claim - neither the cops nor the Provincial Armed Constabulary fired during the attacks.

In both villages, we hear the same thing, that the attackers are still roaming free and so there is fear and tension.
At the Jhauli police station, 34 people have been named as accused, none have been arrested. The police say that's because the attackers are missing.

But when we visit Jhauli, we easily found one of the accused, a young man called Gullu. He claims he and other accused are being framed. Gullu says the initial provocation was by the Jats, who were returning in an aggressive mood from the Mahapanchayat. When asked to explain the attack, he claims it was by 'outsiders'.

The absence of justice is echoed in Loi village, where Muslims have huddled for refuge. They have fled from villages like Fugana, Kharad and Laath, after the Jats in their own village turned on them.

Sixteen Muslims were killed. Once again, there is a tense wait for justice. At the Fugana police station, they have booked 400 people but only 14 have been arrested so far. The police say they are verifying the facts.

When we visited Fugana village, the Jats too claimed that the attackers were outsiders, the same language used by those in Jhauli.

The absence of swift decisive justice is only adding to the climate of tension and fear that hangs over Muzaffarnagar.