A five-member team of Hindu seers contradicted the BJP’s claim of an exodus of Hindu families from western Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana on Sunday but reported an atmosphere of fear in the town because of criminals.
The team was formed by the state government after BJP parliamentarian Hukum Singh claimed over 350 Hindu families left the town, post alleged extortion threats from Muslim gangs.
Subsequent media reports and district administration probe indicate the exodus claim is false as many Hindu families left in search of jobs and the criminals targeted both communities.
The ruling Samajwadi Party says the BJP is using the Kairana issue to fan communal tensions ahead of the assembly polls next year.
“No one complained about a Hindu exodus but there is an atmosphere of fear in Kairana,” said Swami Chakrapani, who was a part of the team.
The team met the brother of a trader who was killed in broad daylight in 2014 after refusing to pay the criminals money. The trader’s family told the panel that the terror of criminals prevailed over the town and that they were deprived of ex-gratia payments after the murder, despite an announcement by the then cabinet minister.
The team also met the families of two other traders who were killed in full public glare for refusing to pay the criminals. The family members said the state government didn’t take care of them and that the town was under the shadow of terror because criminals were not afraid of the police.
The team included Swami Chakrapani, Pramod Krishnam, Swami Kalyandeo, Swami Chinmayanand and Swami Devendranand and will submit a report to the central and state governments on Thursday.