Kairana, Shamli: The “exodus” of Hindus from Kairana received prominent attention during BJP’s national executive in Allahabad on Sunday, but at ground zero.
Many Hindu families left western Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana town not because of Muslim criminal threats but in search of jobs five years ago, an Hindustan Times investigation found on Monday, indicating “mass exodus” allegations may have been made to fan communal passions ahead of state polls.
A TOI team located at least 20 families mentioned in Singh’s list of 346 and almost all of them said the MP had got things wrong and perhaps wilfully falsified “evidence” for political reasons.
Local BJP member of Parliament Hukum Singh has dominated headlines for the last week after alleging that Muslim gangs — including that led by the alleged ringleader Mukhim Kala — issued extortion threats to 350-odd Hindu families and drove them out of town, with cover from the Samajwadi Party.
But when Kala was arrested last October, he had 14 murder charges against him, 3 Hindus and 11 Muslims.
The BJP’s list doesn’t mention 115 Muslim families who also migrated from just one locality of Alkala in the town.
The local administration’s verification of 119 names given by Singh found that 66 of them left their homes five years ago, way before Kala was active or the SP was in power.
Moreover, the list of people isn’t typical of those who get extortion threats. 34 of them owned small shops, 55 were laborers, 13 farmers, five lawyers, two school teachers and three clerks.
But what the BJP’s charges appeared to have done is inject communal feeling in the Muslim-majority town that has otherwise always remained peaceful, even in the midst of the Muzaffarnagar riots two years ago that killed 60 people.
Murari Lal’s family, for instance, is listed at “number 195” on Hukum Singh’s list of Hindu families that have supposedly “fled” from western Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana town, unable to withstand persecution. Lal, however, is very much there and says he has been living in Kairana since he is born and has never received any threat from the “other community”.
Several such families on the list said their names had been wrongly placed on the list. Some said that if certain families had moved, it was mostly to find employment and better opportunities and not out of fear of rising instances of communalism.
None, however, claimed that a “mass exodus” along the lines of Kashmir had taken place. Hukum Singh, though, stuck to his position and insisted there was “movement out of Kairana”.