A BJP fact-finding team said on Wednesday many more families are ready to leave Kairana, an Uttar Pradesh town at the centre of a political slugfest over alleged exodus of Hindu families hounded by criminal gangs.
The eight-member team led by BJP legislator Suresh Khanna went round the Muslim-dominated town and spoke to people to gather details for a report which could be submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), team members said.
Kairana, with a population of 86,000, shot into the limelight after BJP parliamentarian Hukum Singh raised the bogey of Hindu exodus, releasing a list of 346 families who allegedly migrated over the years from the town, around 100 km from Delhi.
After discrepancies were found in the list, Singh said those who migrated from the town included both Hindus and Muslims and “clarified” that Kairana was not a communal issue but a law and order problem.
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) has accused the BJP of giving communal colour to a law and order issue to polarise the state ahead of next year’s assembly polls.
“I believe that many more families other than those mentioned in the list are willing to migrate from the town,” Khanna said as he attacked the Akhilesh Yadav government for “total breakdown” of law and order in Kairana.
He also charged the state government with providing “facilities and punishment” to the people on the basis of their religion, which had created a sense of insecurity among the masses.
Satyapal Singh, former Mumbai Police commissioner and MP from Baghpat, said the people of Kairana were terribly scared and “it appeared that criminals controlled the administration here”.
The team also raised questions over criminals operating from within jails and said the matter would be raised in the state assembly and taken to the streets.
The committee members accused officials of pressurising people to give statements as per their wish in the name of verifying details of families mentioned in the list released by Hukum Singh.
Sudhir Agarwal, president of the party’s human rights cell, said the party may also seek the judiciary’s help to ensure justice to the people.
The committee will submit the report of its findings to the party leadership which will examine it and take final decision for action.
During the team’s visit to the Retawal locality, one man who identified himself only by his first name Sompal, said he paid Rs 10 lakh to criminals and they were now mounting pressure on him to pay Rs 5 lakh more.
“I sold my house at a throwaway price. My two brothers also want to migrate from here after selling their property,” he told the team. Dayaram Sharma of the same locality said he shifted to Shamali due to deterioration in law and order situation.
The team faced opposition during their visit to Chowk Bazar, as a group of people, including Muslims, shouted slogans and accused them of listening to the grievances of a particular community.
“The way they wanted to talk to us was improper,” said Khanna about the protest.