They belong to different communities. And they have never met. But they share the realisation that they, and others like them, will have to learn to live together in order to begin life anew.
One of them belongs to Mohammadpur Shikast in Meerut. The other hails from Bahawari in Shamli.
Sitting under a neem tree in his village, the Mohammadpur Shikast resident and his fellow villagers thank the Almighty for saving them during a deadly attack when they were returning to their village after attending the mahapanchayat on September 7.
“Two of our fellow villagers were killed. It was a narrow escape for 200 others,” he recalls.
The attack was spearheaded by a group of miscreants near village Munjhera of Meerapur in Muzaffarnagar.
Almost 60 km away from their village, the Bahawri resident has nothing to thank God for.
His uncle, mother and a few others were killed in the backlash for the September 7 attack.
He now wants stern action against those who allegedly eliminated many of his clansmen. Bursting into tears outside the Budhana Kotwali, he says: “I tried to take my uncle out for treatment but failed to save his life.”
Both communities believe the attacks were pre-planned. They blame police and district administration for being nonresponsive to the distress calls of the trapped people.
“We telephoned officials and told them about the threat to our lives. But we received only hollow assurances. Thereafter, a few of them switched off their phones,” says another villager.
Irrespective of the community they belong to, those who suffered in the violence demand stern action against perpetrators, security for their clansmen and speedy restoration of peace in the region.