Fresh battle lines are being drawn in Muzaffarnagar’s rural areas as Muslims and Jats harden respective stances against the local administration’s “inefficient and unfair action” in dealing with communal violence in the past two months.
Three panchayats — one Muslim and two Jat — took place on Friday though the administration had banned these after Jats returning from a Mahapanchayat on September 7 were attacked at various villages. On September 8, Jats killed over 50 Muslims in retaliation and the violence hasn’t stopped ever since.
On Thursday night, a police party went to Kutba village to arrest those responsible for the September 8 violence but the villagers fired at it, damaging at least six police vehicles. Six Muslims had been killed in Kutba on September 8.
“There was an understanding with the administration that after identifying those responsible, action will be taken in consultation with village elders. Why are the police suddenly acting against us when our boys are being attacked?” asked Sanjiv Balian, a BJP leader, at the Kutba panchayat.
Another panchayat took place in Hussainpur, where three Muslim boys were killed on Wednesday. It demanded the killers’ arrest and a `25 lakh compensation to the families.
At Mohammadpurraisingh village, where the third meeting was held, the panchayat said it might convene a bigger panchayat on November 6.
Interestingly, the meeting called all communities, including Muslims, to join the November 6 gathering.