Lucknow: Several Muslim families in Mavi village in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, around 85 km from the national capital, which witnessed some communally tense moments last week, are reportedly planning to flee, fearing more violence.
Tension has gripped the area, which falls under sugarcane belt, since Thursday evening after some youth belonging to the Gujjar community of the village had an alleged brawl with a Muslim shopkeeper of the locality.
At present, houses are locked, shops shuttered and the streets deserted in the area, as per reports.
In fact, growing incidents of violence and harassment, especially after the enactment of the controversial law against inter-faith marriages, are forcing many Muslim families in villages to migrate to “safer places”, because they feel that even trivial matters are being given a communal twist.
Following the incident in Mavi, about 40 Muslim families have reportedly decided to sell their properties and houses and move out. The families have put up posters and signboards on their houses 'Yeh Makan Bikau Hai' (This house is for sale.
Nausher, a resident of Mavi village, who sells paan masala and essential commodities in the village, said a man whom he identified as Sundar, came to his shop and took two cigarettes worth Rs. 20 on December 23 without paying for it. He left the shop promising he would return and pay for the cigarettes but did not pay even after a week. Nausher said when he saw him next, he asked him to clear the dues and instead was attacked by the man and his friends. He suffered minor injuries. However, this fight turned into a communal clash.
“I am a Muslim. I am selling my home because fights over petty issues turn into communal clashes here,” Mohammed Sharif, who pasted a signboard on his house, told NewsClick. He alleged that a mob belonging to the Gujjar community barged into his house and smashed everything.
There are more than 40 people, such as Nawabuddin, Islamuddin, Shaqib, Nayeem Akhtar, Arif Saifi, Shamshad from Mavi village, who have pasted house sale posters, which appear to have been digitally printed.
According to Sharif they are being forced to take this extreme step as they belong to the Muslim community and alleged that UP Police “was working under the influence of the Right-wing government”.
“I want to sell my house because whenever incidents of violence take place in the area, we feel threatened. We are born and brought up here and such incidents never occurred, but since the past four-five years, this has become a daily affair,” Sharif said, adding that he was thinking of moving to Delhi.
"Despite providing evidence to the police officers where a youth can be seen opening fire and breaking glass windows of a Muslim-owned place, it did not register a case against them. They refused to file an FIR saying that they cannot register cases on every trivial matter," Sharif told NewsClick.
Another villager, Syed Nishat, said people of both communities (Gujjar-Muslim) have lived here peacefully since long, but “some fringe elements” are trying to disturb the social fabric of the country. He said a meeting of the villagers had been convened to resolve the issue.
“There are around 40 families who want to sell their houses after the incident, but I don’t want to migrate anywhere. Who will sell my property, who will buy it, where will I go?” he said.
When Newsclick approached the Circle Officer (CO) of Daurala, Sanjiva Kumar Dixit, for his comments, he said: "There was a minor scuffle between two parties over non-payment of cigarette. Both parties pelted stones at each other but the matter is sorted out." He said there was no truth in the talk that Muslims were selling their houses and fleeing the village..
When asked about posters of home sales coming up in the village, he said he had no such information.
As per some villagers, a couple of families had already fled a day after the incident took place, citing reasons that lives of female members were at risk. “I have shifted to one of our relative’s place in neighbouring district because I can’t take risk as I have three daughters and all of them are repeatedly saying ‘Abba, hum aise khauf me nahi jee sakte’ (Father, we can’t live in fear anymore) ever since the incident took place,” an ailing father told NewsClick.
In June last year, too, scores of Muslim families had put up “For Sale” signs outside their homes in Shamli town, saying they felt they were being persecuted by the UP Police for being Muslims.
Read Also: UP: Muslim Families Put up ‘For Sale’ Signs Outside Homes in Shamli, Some Flee, Citing Police Brutality