A report prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) validated claims made by BJP MP Hukum Singh who had earlier this year said that 250 Hindu families had fled Kairana in the Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh out of fear.
A probe team of the NHRC has found that many families "migrated" from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh due to threats pertaining to "increase in crime" and "deterioration" of law-and-order situation there. Based on its findings, the commission has sent a notice to the chief secretary and director general of police of the state to submit an action taken report, on the observations and recommendations of the team within eight weeks.
Kairana grabbed national media attention when BJP MP Hukum Singh released a list of 346 Hindu families which the MP claimed had left their homes and fled because of "threat and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community.' As the issue flared up, political parties, especially Congress and Samajwadi Party, slammed BJP for trying to stoke communal tension in Uttar Pradesh ahead the state Assembly elections.
According to the 2011 India Census, Kairana's literacy rate is 47.23 percent and is dominated by Muslim community who constitute 70 percent of the community. Families belonging to the Hindu community are also in business and farming, whereas the poor work as labourers.
The team also examined relevant witnesses, victims, independent witnesses, police officials concerned and SDM. Copies of relevant records were also obtained and analysed. "The team also obtained list of 346 displaced families or persons from PS to the MP, Kairana. Out of that list three residential localities were selected and at random at least six alleged victims or displaced families or persons were chosen for verification. The NHRC team comprised of deputy SP Ravi Singh and inspectors Suman Kumari, Saroj Tiwari and Arun Kumar.
Speaking to The Times of India, NHRC deputy director (media and communication) Jaimini Kumar Srivastava said that the team visited different places in Kairana town, Muzaffarnagar and Panipat in Haryana. "The team also examined relevant witnesses, victims, independent witnesses, police and administrative officials concerned. Copies of relevant records were also obtained and analyzed. The team obtained a list of 346 displaced families/persons from Kairana MP Hukum Singh's personal secretary. Out of that list, three residential localities were selected and at least six alleged victims/displaced families/persons were randomly chosen for verification. The team also had telephonic verification from at least four displaced families mentioned in the list, who had migrated to distant places like Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and Surat (Gujarat)."
"The team also had telephonic verification from at least four displaced families mentioned in the list who had migrated to distant places such as Dehradun and Surat from Kairana town in Shamli district," the NHRC said in a statement on Wednesday. "Most of the witnesses stated that many families migrated due to threats pertaining to increase in crime and deterioration of law-and-order situation," the Commission says, quoting the team's findings.
"At least 24 witnesses stated that the youths of the specific majority community (Muslims in this case) in Kairana town pass lewd/taunting remarks against the females of the specific minority community in town," the report added. Due to this, females of the specific minority community in Kairana avoided going outside frequently. "Some of the displaced persons also verified that it was one of the reasons for their migration from Kairana town," the NHRC said quoting the team's findings.
However, in June this year, a probe conducted by the Shamli district administration into the alleged migration from Kairana had found that in the list of 346 families, 188 had left over five years ago. The inquiry had then found that only in three cases the families had faced 'rangdari' threats and police took timely action.
A home department spokesman had said that on verification of the list provided by BJP MP Hukum Singh, it was found that 66 families had left Kairana 10 years ago. The NHRC probe team has also found that in 2013, after resettlement of about 25,000-30,000 members of Muslims community in Kairana town from Muzaffarnagar, the demography of Kairana town changed in favour of the Muslim community", it becoming the "more dominating and majority community".
Interestingly, Samajwadi Party's defence came from party's freshly inducted national general secretary Amar Singh, who strongly defended Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and said that NHRC is a constitutional body and it would not be proper to comment on the report but there is always two sides to a story.
"There are two aspects of the (Kairana) issue. I do not understand why the BJP is raking up Kairana so much. Is it just because of the approaching elections in UP? Suddenly, they are so concerned about the Hindu exodus here, but let me ask them why are they silent over Kashmiri Pandit issue. They are in power in Delhi and also in Jammu and Kashmir but what are they doing for the resettlement of these Pandits? BJP must have a uniform approach. Forced exodus of any kind is bad," Amar Singh was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
"Most of the witnesses examined and victims feel that the rehabilitation in 2013 has permanently changed the social situation in Kairana town and has led to further deterioration of law-and-order situation," says the team's findings. A Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson when contacted, said, "We are yet to receive the NHRC notice. And, we will respond to it only after receiving it."
Immediately after the release of the report, a delegation of BJP MPs on Thursday, led by Hukum Singh, met the Meerut Zone IG demanding immediate action. Speaking to mediapersons, Hukum Singh said, "It is the victory of truth… and I was always right about Kairana exodus… People in Kairana are afraid of criminals but perpetrators are not afraid of the police… I have told the IG to do fair a investigation in Kairana case, without considering any community or the ruling government."
Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh raised questions over the NHRC report on alleged migration of Hindu families from Kairana in Shamli district saying the findings are "meaningless". He said the NHRC team talked to a very limited number of affected families which raises questions over it credibility.
"The report by the Commission on exodus has no meaning. It was said 346 families had migrated from Kairana of which NHRC talked to only six and prepared its report...they could have talked to other families," he said replying to a question from reporters on the report here. Singh said migration is not a big issue. "People all over the world migrate to areas promising better avenues."
With inputs from agencies