A BUSINESSMAN from Ghaziabad has filed a police complaint, saying his family has been dragged into the Shamli “exodus” controversy by unidentified people who put up his house “on sale”.
Gaurav Jain, in his complaint, told the police that some unidentified people wrote on the wall of his house, located in Shamli’s Kandhla town, that it is “up for sale” and have since been circulating photographs in the media to present it as an example of Hindus leaving town — a claim made by BJP MP Hukum Singh. The claim has come under criticism from opposition parties who have termed it a ploy to whip up communal tension to gain political mileage before next year’s Assembly elections.
Gaurav Jain’s father, Paras Chand, figures among 63 names in Hukum Singh’s second list of people who have allegedly migrated from two Shamli towns, Kairana and Kandhla. The first list contained names of 346 Hindu families from Kairana town, who were allegedly driven out because of “threats” from a gang belonging to “a particular community”.
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Gaurav, 36, denied there was any threat. He said the claim that his family moved out of Kandhla due to harassment or fear is “completely false”.
“I moved out in 2010 for the growth of my career. Later, my family — parents, wife and children — also shifted to Ghaziabad. (But) in the list, my father’s name too has figured,” said Gaurav, who runs a medical shop.
“I was surprised to see in the media a photo of my house with a message written on the wall that it is up for sale. The house is located at Saravgyan mohalla in Kandhla. The media is showing my house in the context of the exodus. I immediately complained about it to the district magistrate and requested for an inquiry, ” he said.
Shamli District Magistrate Sujeet Kumar confirmed receiving the complaint.
The Shamli administration is currently investigating the allegations made by the BJP MP’s second list released on June 14.
The administration’s investigation into the first list punched holes into the BJP’s claim of “mass exodus”, with the report saying that “only three people” had left the town because of threats, while most of the rest were either “still living there” or moved out years ago for “better employment opportunities” or reasons related to “business, healthcare and children’s education”.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ram Avtar Gupta and Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhushan Verma, who had carried out the probe into the first list, are verifying names and addresses in the second list as well. The DM said “over 50 per cent” verification is complete. He said that “five families” among those verified are “found to be still living at their Kandhla house”.
Kandhla, around 10 km from Kairana and part of the Shamli Assembly constituency, shares border with Baghpat district. Kandhla was part of the Muzaffarnagar district before Shamli was created in July 2012.
Congress’s Shamli MLA Pankaj Malik said Kandhla’s population is over 60,000 and is dominated (around 70 per cent) by the Muslim community. Most of the residents run businesses or are involved in farming while a few work as daily wage labourers.
Malik is part of the Congress’s three-member delegation probing the alleged exodus. The MLA said he visited Kandhla on Saturday. He said local residents told him that those who had moved out did so “because of the deteriorating law and order situation”, ruling out the BJP’s allegations of “threat” and fear” from “a particular community”.