In the midst of the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts where 40 people have been killed since Saturday, two villages have emerged as islands of harmony.
Even as bloody clashes tore into the trust between the two communities in the area, the Jat-dominated Mohammadpur Shakist village in Meerut district didn’t allow its lone Muslim family to leave for a ‘safer’ place.
Despite the fact that the village lost a young man belonging to the majority community in the clashes, the villagers asked the Muslim family to stay on, promising them protection.
On September 7, 35-year-old Jogendra was killed along with 42-year-old Virendra of neighbouring Modkhurd village while they were on their way home after attending the mahapanchayat.
The Muslim family mourned Jogendra’s death along with the entire village. “The death was a setback for my family as well,” said Raisuddin, whose septuagenarian mother Bundi has been visiting Jogendra’s home every day to help the family in their hour of grief. Raisuddin’s 10-member family runs a barber shop in the village and occasionally works in the fields owned by the Jats.
“We can’t ignore the significance and support of Raisuddin’s family in our daily life. It is our responsibility to protect them in order to keep the spirit of humanity intact,” said Jogendra’s relative Sunil Choudhary.
In another instance of communal harmony in trying times, residents of Muslim-majority Jaula village in Muzaffarnagar district have protected about 100 Hindus living in the village. “Despite all odds, we have not allowed them to leave because it will give a bad name to our village, which we cannot bear,” said Abdul Gaffar, the village’s former headman.