The Ambala Road runs through Saharanpur in a way that it divides Hindus and Sikhs from Muslims, quite literally. But Saturday’s riots have turned it into a line of actual control, with the administration not allowing people from one side of road to cross over to the other side.
A majority of more than the 100 shops, owned mainly by Sikhs and Hindus, burnt during the Saturday’s riots on this road. Almost all these shops employed Muslims workers, especially in the business of car accessories and repair.
“I had four Muslim mechanics,” said Naval Bharti, standing teary-eyed in front of his burnt shop. He had come to see his shop for the first time on Wednesday.
“I don’t know whether I am going to employ my Muslim mechanics again. I don’t even know whether I will remain in the business of car accessories,” he lamented.
His Muslim employees have not spoken to him after Saturday. Bharti does not seem to be in a hurry to speak to them.
With tempers still running high, the administration kept Ambala Road under curfew initially. Both Hindu and Muslim areas got relaxation in curfew for four hours each but not at same time with Ambala Road remaining under curfew all the time.
The administration allowed traffic on the road on Wednesday but the curfew relaxation time remained different with Hindus getting relief in the morning and Muslims in the evening.
“They knew which of the shops belonged to Hindus and Sikhs. You can see shops of Muslims remain untouched. Can it happen without the support of those living in nearby areas?” asked Harpreet Singh, one of the Ambala Road shop owners.
Muslims, however, deny it. “Rioters were from outside, not from the nearby localities like Dholikhal. Why will we destroy our livelihood?” said Wasim Qureshi.
Badal asks Mulayam for compensation for Saharanpur Sikhs
Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal Wednesday urged Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to personally intervene to ensure compensation for the Sikh families who were affected by recent riots in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur town.
In a telephonic conversation, Badal urged Mulayam Singh to ensure security for the Sikhs living in Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh, whose son Akhilesh Yadav is the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, told him that the state government would do everything to help Sikhs.
Badal called up Mulayam Singh as a delegation of Sikhs from Saharanpur met him here Wednesday and sought help for those affected by the riots. They also urged Badal to press the Uttar Pradesh government for cancellation of false cases against the members of Sikh community in Saharanpur.