Mohammad Kaleem of Bhawadi village in UP’s Shamli district escaped to Budhana on September 8. On Thursday afternoon, he, along with other fellow villagers, stood outside the Budhana police station, demanding action against those who had attacked them and driven them out of their homes.
Kaleem is not alone. According to the divisional commissioner of Saharanpur, more than 50,000 riot victims have taken shelter in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. Most of them refuse to return home. Officials are finding it difficult to make arrangements for food and essential commodities for all of them.
“We have identified 35 locations where migrated people are staying and we have to chalk out a plan to provide food and other essential commodities to these people immediately,” said Saharanpur divisional commissioner Bhuvnesh Kumar.
On Sunday, a group of Muslims attacked people from the Jat community who were headed for the mahapanchayat at Bassi village. Most of these Jats were from Bhawadi village. When the injured villagers returned home on Monday, the Muslims in the village bore the brunt of the backlash. Kaleem and his friends were among those who suffered.
“We are trying to create a conducive atmosphere so that those who have migrated can return home. We plan to make arrangements for security in riot-affected villages so that people feel reassured when they return,” he added.
In a relief camp in Shahpur, 20 km from Muzaffarnagar, the air of gloom lifted temporarily when nine babies were born on Tuesday and Wednesday.
(With inputs by Vasistha Bhardwaj)