Even as the Shamli district administration denied allegations of Hindu exodus from Kairana town, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has begun identifying other localities from where Hindus allegedly have been driven out in recent years.
VHP officials claim to have already found similar cases of exodus and are preparing a list by comparing the present voter list with those of the past. “This is being undertaken all over the state after instructions received from the central leadership of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad,” said Sunil Parashar, UP vice-president, VHP.
“We are moving ahead in a planned manner and would release the lists after submitting it to central leadership,” he added, admitting that the move was taken after the Kairana controversy came to light.
The controversy erupted after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Hukum Singh claimed that more than 250 Hindu families in western Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana town were forced to migrate under the threat of intimidation and violence.
“There are about a dozen localities in Agra from where about 1,000 Hindu families have shifted and they are now residing in other localities,” Parashar said. “Thus, it is wrong to allege that Hindus are moving for business purpose only. In fact, this movement is because of harassment by the other community.”
Parashar said the list would not include names of people who relocated in search of jobs, and questioned why similar exodus wasn’t seen among Muslims.
“We would conduct these surveys initially for one week and might continue it further as directed by the central leadership. Such surveys are to be conducted state-wide by local units of VHP,” said Parashar.
A list of 150 Hindu families that migrated from Billochpura area will be released first, he added. “Similar, surveys are to be conducted in Moti Kunj, Jatpura, Khatipada and Singi Gali localities.”
The Hindu nationalist group took up the surveys after VHP leader Arun Mahour was shot dead in the city’s Mantola area on February 25. Some Right-wing activists alleged that Mahour’s shop was set on fire by Muslims, after which he shifted to Awas Vikas Colony from his parental house in the locality.
The ruling Samajwadi Party, however, condemned the VHP’s move.
SP city unit president, Raisuddin Qureshi, said surveys were aimed at disturbing peace and tranquillity in Agra, the city of ‘sulah-kul’ (universal peace and harmony) where all religions survive.
“This organisation aims to divide and rule but will not succeed in their designs in Uttar Pradesh, where people have understood their motives. UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has talked about development and parties like BJP are not able to find any answer to it, thus resorting to such divisive tactics,” said Qureshi.