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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Muzaffarnagar riots: news of death shadows fleeing refugees

Peeyush Khandelwal, Hindustan Times  Ghaziabad, September 13, 2013
First Published: 23:35 IST(13/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:20 IST(14/9/2013)

Mohammed Hashim fled the scene of riots in Shamli district and reached Ghaziabad’s Loni town on Thursday night only to learn that marauders had killed his father and two other relatives.

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Last Saturday, Hashim loaded nearly 25 members, including himself, of his joint family in a hired Tata-407 mini-truck for a hefty amount of Rs. 2,500 for them to be taken to Shamli town, just 10 km from their village.

The vehicle waited in the sugarcane fields as the family members walked through the foliage.

“There was nothing available for commuting and our relatives arranged for the vehicle. After reaching Shamli town we took shelter in a madarsa and arrived last night in Loni after police officials provided us four constables for our security,” Hashim said.

“We are staying with our relatives but they can’t support us for too long,” he added.

Nearly 1,000 persons, including children and women, have moved to Loni because of the dislocation and insecurity caused by the riots.

“It reminds me of the days of partition. I sent my young granddaughters to a relative’s house after a panchayat was held in our village on September 5. I called their uncle to take them to a safe place,” said Rafiqan, 75.

Murshida said she had sent away her two young daughters, aged 18 and 21, with the help of a neighbour who took them on his bike to a safe place.

“Both the daughters are to be married in October. We were given an ultimatum to leave the village or die. My husband is still stuck in the village.”

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