NEW DELHI: Muslims of Uttar Pradesh’s village fleeing after police falsely book at least 200 men under the dreaded anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) following a reported clash on October 20.
The clash took place when the Durga idol immersion procession was passing through the Khair village that has about 65% Muslims.
According to Indian Express reports, an an FIR against 60 named Muslims and 100-200 unnamed people was lodged by a Hindu resident named Ashish Kumar Shukla after the clash. Shukla, in his FIR, filed at Baundi police station, sensationally alleged that Muslims were armed with pistols, bombs and swords and allegedly attacked the procession and also claimed that 50-60 unidentified people were injured in the clash.
Later, the local police arrested 19 people in connection with the case. The cops, according to the newspaper, confessed that UAPA was wrongly invoked against the village Muslims adding that they will drop it from the FIR.
“There was a clash between Muslims and Hindus, but police registered FIR only against us. No FIR was lodged against people in the procession who engaged in brick-batting and attacked our houses and shops. Police are harassing us,” alleges 63-year-old Jaituna. “All youths left home after the police started raiding our houses. Those who were found were arrested. My sons Ramzan Ali (30) and Nankau (28) are in jail,” says Jaituna, who is left with two daughters-in-law and 10 grandchildren was quoted by the Indian Express.
Hundreds of youth from the Muslim-dominated village in Bahraich district have now fled fearing arrest.
Those who have fled include 45-year-od Mohammad Rasheed, former village head and head cleric of Jama Masjid at Khair Bazaar, Hafiz Abdul Bari (43). “Rasheed’s family too has left. Police broke their doors and windows when women and children were inside,” says Mohammad Hasan, a neighbour.
There is palpable fear and terror in the village deserted of the youth that have only elderly women and children.
This is not the first time that such an incident happened. Several such incidents were reported in 2017. In June, over a hundred of Muslim families of the Lisadi village in Meerut, fled their homes alleging one-sided action by the police after communal tension involving Hindus and Muslims.
The society in UP has become much more polarised and communalised under BJP with Yogi Adityanath as its chief minister, who is known for his hatred for Muslims.