When hordes of rioters flooded Kakra village, 20km from Muzaffarnagar city, on Sunday, all of its 2,000 Muslim residents fled to nearby villages for safety, dealing a blow to the age-old communal harmony.
The rioters set several house on fire. Smoke can be still seen billowing from the charred remains of household items. But the Hindus of the village have kept the flame of religious amity burning.
Shyam Singh and Madan Pal, Intizar’s neighbours, stood outside the gutted house of their Muslim neighbour, Intzar, feeding the livestock the rioters had spared.
"We have been feeding the cattle of our Muslims neighbours who fled the village. We are providing them fodder and water regularly. We hope their owners will return soon," said Singh.
Out of a population of about 12,000, Kakra has 2,000 Muslims. All of them have taken refuge in nearby Muslim-dominated localities and villages.
"If they do not come back within a day or two, we will bring them back," said Pal, who runs a shop in the village.
Both Singh and Pal said the rioters were “outsiders” and they could not identify them.
If Kakra is waiting for its Muslim residents to return, people in nearby Muslim- dominated village of Tawli have offered namaz for peace.
"We didn't allow anyone to disrupt peace in our village,” said Hussain, a Muslim.