A war of words broke out Monday over alleged migration of Hindus from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh with BJP saying it is not good for democracy and that a party team will be sent to probe the "sensitive" issue, prompting Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to accuse the saffron leaders of resorting to lies.
As political temperatures rose over the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana village in Shamli district in western UP ahead of elections due in the state next year, the BJP promised "proper action" after the completion of the probe. Shamli district had witnessed communal riots in 2013.
BJP MLA from Kairana Hukum Singh has alleged that 346 families have been forced to flee the town, which has 85 percent of Muslim population.
Shamli District Magistrate asked the SDM and Circle Officer to probe into the allegations that "jihadi elements" had forced migration of Hindus from there, IG (Law and Order) HR Sharma told reporters. They have been asked to verify the list of 346 families handed over by the local MP who have allegedly migrated, he said.
The state government's action came after VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain's on Monday said, "Jihadis are being encouraged to carry out their activities... VHP calls upon the state government to rein in jihadi elements who are responsible for this exodus and tighten law and order in the state."
A day after BJP chief Amit Shah expressed serious concern over the "migration", senior BJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari said his party has taken up the issue with all seriousness.
"Party President has set up a committee, which will go there and study the situation. Such a migration is not good for democracy. The party is sensitive about it and proper steps will be taken after the report comes," Gadkari told reporters on the second day of BJP National Executive meeting in Allahabad. The seven-member committee comprises four MPs and three leaders from UP.
Shah, in his address to the National Executive on Monday, had said, "The migration happening in Kairana due to violence is a matter of serious concern. There is an atmosphere of violence. The lack of development and the lack of governance in the largest state of India, that is Uttar Pradesh, is becoming a matter of serious concern."
But according to an Indian Express investigation, which tracked down 22 people who figure in Singh’s list, five had died, four had moved out of Kairana looking for better opportunities, 10 left more than 10 years ago, three had moved fearing “local criminals”.
Out of 118 names submitted by the UP police and the Shamli district administration, who are checking on names in Singh’s list, found similar patterns: five dead, 12 still present, 46 moved out since 2011, 55 moved out at least 6-11 years ago, according to The Indian Express report.
Shamli DM Sujeet Kumar said they could not just go by "the word of one person", reports The Times of India. He added that, "It is unlikely that such a massive exodus could have taken place. If mass movement on such a scale had taken place, we would have got to know about it."
According to the TOI report, it's not just Hindus who have migrated from Muslim-dominated areas, but vice-versa. Mass movement of families happening across religious lines is leading to ghettoization in the region.
Akhilesh Yadav on Monday accused the BJP leaders of being "dishonest" and "lying" on the issue and said he would like to see "better work" from the party.
"The BJP is alleging that the Samajawadi Party Government forced the people flee from Kairana... BJP can be dishonest to this extent," Yadav told reporters in Mathura. He also claimed that most of the people left the village about 10 to 15 years back while others left in search of jobs about seven or eight years back.
"A house to house search shows the lie of BJP," Yadav said.
Taking a dig at the BJP, which is seeking to wrest power from the SP in the state, Yadav said he would like to see "better" work from the BJP. "I want them to show some work. They should come and say that they distributed laptops to the people and not only talk about digital India," he added.
Gadkari, a former BJP President, parried a question about the Samajwadi Party(SP) government's assertion that many Hindus had migrated from Kairana long back and some of them are now already dead, saying the BJP President has already reacted to this matter.
"The party is sensitive on this issue and will take proper action," was his repeated refrain.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jun 14, 2016 13:05 PM