HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Muzaffarnagar may be back to normal, Holi here is not

S Raju, Hindustan Times  Meerut, March 17, 2014
First Published: 00:37 IST(17/3/2014) | Last Updated: 02:04 IST(17/3/2014)

This Holi, riot-scarred areas of western Uttar Pradesh will miss a primary colour — that of camaraderie from Muslims.

Communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining Shamli district last September, which left 48 persons dead and hundreds of families displaced, seem to have left deep scars on the communities who have celebrated their festivals together since generations.

This is evident by Muslims’ lukewarm response to the festival of Holi, which they used to celebrate with their Hindu brethren.

Stalwart farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait’s village Sisauli, also headquarter of BKU, is facing the brunt of ‘trust deficit’ between the two communities on the occasion of Holi.

The tensions in the region are such that even a tiny incident of throwing ‘gulal’ on a Muslim boy created friction in a village and was solved only after intervention of elderly people from both sides. “It was indeed shocking for me. Villagers never response like this on such a tiny incident”, admitted Tikait.

In the scenario after the riots, even Hindus are reluctant in ensuring their active participation in the centuries-old tradition of taking out ‘tableaux’ a day after Holi.

“I am worried over lukewarm response of our Muslim brethren who had always given their active and valuable support in keeping tradition vibrant and scintillating’, clarified Tikait, adding “Every year 15 or 16 odd tableau participate in the procession but this year it could go down even half in number. Being good artisans and also experts in mechanical works they (Muslims) used to offer their services for mounting tableaus properly. Besides, every year they build a few tableaus to include in the procession from their side.”

Muzaffarnagar City’s Mufti Zulfikar who is also state president of Imam Organisation also said that they have lost their excitement in the festival. Hazi Aftab, President of All India Mutahaida Mahaz and Thakur Anoop Singh, former president of Muzaffarnagar District Bar Association, also emphasized on initiating steps in bringing both communities together to revive vibrancy of festivals again.

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