In Muzaffarnagar, Hindus chant Allahu-Akbar, Muslims Har Har Mahadev

214

Muzaffarnagar: For years after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 that left 63 dead and more than 50,000 homeless, Hindus on one side and Muslims on the other bayed for each other’s blood. Hundreds of cases were lodged against members of both communities and the social strain was apparent, with the two sides wary, apprehensive and angry.
Of late, though, there has been a transformation. Peace committees are working overtime to bring back the harmony Muzaffarnagar lost, and it is bearing fruit. Nowadays, often after “unity meetings”, Hindus can be heard chanting Allahu- Akbar and Muslims Har Har Mahadev.
Adding to the urgency, politicians of all hues have joined in. Recently in Delhi, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav met a Hindu-Muslim group. RLD’s Ajit Singh has followed suit as have some others.
With local village heads and activists lending their weight to the mission, the two warring sides seem to be intent on making peace, to leave the bitter memories behind. In such meetings these days, mostly to withdraw cases against each other, Hindus and Muslims can be heard ending the sittings with cries invoking Allah and Shiva.
“We’re tired of fighting,” said Mohd Hasan, coming out of a meeting called by Ajit Singh. “I lost my mother in Kutba during the riots. What did the violence achieve? We lost lives, homes, work, years of social harmony. I think realization has finally come.”
Yakub Ahmad, another riot-affected who is now living in a resettled colony at Budhana having lost his home in the violence, said, “These past years have been harrowing. We were uprooted, some of our relatives were killed. But who benefited from this mayhem? Only politicians. We are people at the grass-root level, more concerned with making both ends meet. Who has time for inter-faith rivalry? If someone is trying to engineer peace between the two communities, it is good because we have through years depended on each other for sustenance.”
National president of Jaat Sangharsh Samiti, Vipin Balian, said, “We want to bring unity between the communities. It is not just about the court cases. Many found it difficult to find laborers for their fields. There were losses everywhere. Muzaffarnagar has to change its own history.”
Kiran Pal, another resident of Kutba village, said he has no problem saying Allahu-Akbar. “I think there’s nothing wrong with it. These slogans send a message of unity and respect for each other’s religion.”
Before the Muzaffarnagar riots, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) was known for making Hindus and Muslims jointly shout such slogans. “Such chants in unison is not something new and could be seen during BKU protests. It’s just that riots created polarization and damaged the social fabric,” said former village pradhan Chaudhry Shakir Ali.
RLD state spokesperson Abhishek Gurjar said two big public meetings for communal harmony in Muzaffarnagar, one on February 19 and another in March, has already been planned and “more than one lakh are expected to take part in them”.

- Advertisement -