Distress sale: Muslim homes go cheap in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar

The authorities, however, say no distress sale has come to their notice and refuse to interfere.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee | Muzaffarnagar | Updated: August 28, 2014 10:19 am
Babu Dheer Singh rests at his new house that he has purchased from one of the persons who left the village during the Muzaffarnagar riots in Kakra Village. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand) Babu Dheer Singh rests at his new house that he has purchased from one of the persons who left the village during the Muzaffarnagar riots in Kakra Village. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand)

Last year’s riots still fresh in their minds, a growing number of Muslims in the Muzaffarnagar-Shamli area of Uttar Pradesh are selling their properties in the villages they have now abandoned to Jat neighbours at rates which locals admit are far below the market rates.

The authorities, however, say no distress sale has come to their notice and refuse to interfere, saying property sales remain a private affair.

The Indian Express found that in one village, Kankra, about 5 km from Kutba Kutbi, which saw eight murders and several riot-related cases, the majority of Muslims had sold their homes to Jats. On September 7 last year, three youths from the village who had gone to attend the Jat mahapanchayat, died after a clash broke out in Pulbaliyan village.

Village kids pass through houses that were abandoned during the Muzaffarnagar riots in Kakra Village. Most of the houses owned by the other community in the village  are on sale or have been sold. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand) Village kids pass through houses that were abandoned during the Muzaffarnagar riots in Kakra Village. Most of the houses owned by the other community in the village are on sale or have been sold. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand)

Fearing retaliation, 250 Muslim families fled their homes in the village and have since been staying at relief camps in nearby Muslim-dominated villages.

Village pradhan Ravinder Singh said in the past six weeks, 150 of the 250 Muslim families have sold their homes to Jat neighbours. “The situation is such that small incidents are taking communal colours — accidents, robberies, you name it. It has been like this for a year, in an area which never knew communal tension. So no matter what we say, the Muslims want to leave our village, and the Jats are not trying too hard to stop them either,” Singh said. He said that every day “more Muslims are coming to me with requests to sell their property”.

Damaged house of muslims, a year after the riots at village Lisad in Muzaffarnagar district on August 19th 2014. (Source: Express photo by Ravi Kanojia) Damaged house of muslims, a year after the riots at village Lisad in Muzaffarnagar district on August 19th 2014. (Source: Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

Karan Singh Saini, a former principal of the primary school in the village, bought an approximately 650 square metre plot with a house built in it for Rs 5 lakh, from Mohammad Shabbir. According to the revised circle rate for the village introduced on August 1 — which is Rs 1,400 per square metre — only the land should have cost him more than Rs 9 lakh. “Under normal circumstances, a house here should have cost me about Rs 15 lakh… but rates have gone down since too many people are eager to sell.

Of course we do not want to exploit people who have been our neighbours for years, but we cannot give more than the rates,” said Saini. Shabbir, 65, who was earlier staying in Shahpur relief camp, has now moved in with his daughter and her husband in Loni, said the property was lying vacant for too long.

“I knew I could not get a better rate than this… the rates are only going down. It’s UP elections in 2016, and after that it will be time for the Lok Sabha elections again… it’s not that I am on bad terms with my neighbours, but who knows what the next government will do? What if they just say the state has already compensated us for the riots, and take over our land?”

Mohammad Dilshad sold his 75 square metre plot facing the main road in the village — considered prime property — at Rs 1.62 lakh. The father of four said he had to sell his home for his children’s future. “It was a four-room house. I had asked Rs 3 lakh for it, but I could barely manage over Rs 1 lakh. If I didn’t sell this, I would not have enough money to feed my children,” he said.

Kiran Pal, who was cleaning the house he had just bought from Dilshad, said these are the prevalent rates. “I have bought the house following all regulations. I needed the house because my children are getting married, we need space for them and their families,” he said.

Vinod Singh has bought a 781 square metre house with six rooms for Rs 7 lakh. In this case too, the plot alone should have cost him over Rs 10 lakh, according to the circle rates. Singh agreed the house should have cost him at least Rs 18-20 lakh in “normal times”.

“Honestly I believe they would have sold it cheaper, but they have also got Rs 20 lakh compensation, Rs 5 lakh each from four brothers so there is no reason really to feel sorry for them. They still come to my house and have tea, it’s just that they don’t want to stay here anymore,” Singh said, referring to Mohammad Iliyas and his family from whom he bought the house.

Iliyas is now building a house in Kairana. “Vinod is a friend, I really believe we got the best deal. Houses are selling at Rs 3-4 lakh, we got a much better deal,” he said. A neighbouring house of 343.75 square metre has been sold for Rs 1.45 lakh, here again the plot alone should have cost Rs 4 lakh, as per the circle rates.

ADM (Finance and Revenue) Ram Kishen Sharma said, “Property sales are a private matter, but we have just revised the circle rates this month. We do not have any complaints of distress sales from any community. If people are going to new areas and selling their old homes, it is their decision.”

Sharma said while earlier circle rates were revised every two years, now it is done annually according to UP government directions. “The rates have just come into effect from August, so there is no question of exploitation,” Sharma said.

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  1. B
    Blackdown440
    Dec 23, 2015 at 10:55 am
    Reply
    1. R
      Raj
      Aug 28, 2014 at 7:51 am
      So are you saying that this is a bad thing, these houses should be forcibly occupied and people chased out like what happened to the Kashmiri pandits?
      Reply
      1. A
        amit
        Aug 28, 2014 at 5:57 am
        Kashmiri pundits were also forced to leave their land. Why such hue and cry now
        Reply
        1. A
          anil chejara
          Aug 28, 2014 at 4:05 am
          This is a very pathetic situation for all of us. I must admit that both parties are at fault in recent violence cases and the majority is now showing their strength. We must grow up and learn to live together and harmony despite many differences. People reached on Moon many years ago and we are still dealing these narrow minded religion based problems. We must grow up beyond these mentality and then we will realize how beautiful people and life can be!
          Reply
          1. A
            Asainar Kalathingal
            Aug 28, 2014 at 10:46 am
            Great healing words Anil. Diologue is the biggest tool to resolve the problems. People in both community should be broad minded and elderly people sit togther and resolve the issue.
            Reply
            1. A
              Asainar Kalathingal
              Aug 28, 2014 at 11:01 am
              I have seen in Kerala a Muslim Masjid committee welcoming Hindu Sabarimala pilgrims and giving them water and refershment. In Malappuram district some Temple committee hosting Ifthar party for Muslims break their Ramadan fasting.
              Reply
              1. A
                Asainar Kalathingal
                Aug 30, 2014 at 11:54 am
                My friend. Please do not make any false stories. I never seen and heard such incidents.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Asainar Kalathingal
                  Aug 30, 2014 at 11:56 am
                  We need to concenterate for health and education for our people. Now our current media and system also not shares love and affection, instead they are spreading hatred and violence
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Asainar Kalathingal
                    Aug 28, 2014 at 10:42 am
                    You are right . Mr.Rao. We need a India where Hindu, Muslim ,Sikhs and christians live like brothers. Communal tensio will bring our nation backward.
                    Reply
                    1. B
                      babu
                      Aug 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm
                      Make a communal riot to a have better real estate deal...what a idea ..
                      Reply
                      1. C
                        Chandan Bhowmick
                        Aug 28, 2014 at 10:49 am
                        IT is a common practice .Here effected person could sell the property but in KASMIR pandits had to abunden the property .Same thing happened in AM during anti bengaliriots 1960,1970 &1980.I thing no need to cry over this .This will happen
                        Reply
                        1. B
                          Bharat
                          Sep 11, 2014 at 11:48 pm
                          Are you serious or you are hallucinating? All over the world genocide of people not following Jihadi dictates is taking place and you have the Hindus to blame. Why don't you preach your BS to ISIS and see what they have to say to you :)-.
                          Reply
                          1. B
                            Bharat
                            Sep 11, 2014 at 11:50 pm
                            Let me give a secret advice, If you close your eyes, you will stop seeing them also..lol. They happen across India and we know it
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              Debol Mukherjee
                              Aug 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm
                              Hindu homes become cheaper in Bangladesh and stan.Kashmiri Hindus lost their homes in Valley.
                              Reply
                              1. F
                                Facts
                                Aug 28, 2014 at 3:53 am
                                The news reports only about govt compensation "also got Rs 20 lakh compensation" but not about the money that has been pouring from overseas NGO organisations for them..it is said that only 30% probably reaches them but it is a substantial amount, the rest goes towards NGo funds and middlemen..
                                Reply
                                1. H
                                  harsh
                                  Aug 28, 2014 at 5:29 am
                                  Good job let's deport them and Azam khan to stan where their loyalties lie
                                  Reply
                                  1. I
                                    INDIAN
                                    Aug 28, 2014 at 11:34 am
                                    Because Kerela is 100% educated and UP and Gujrat , Maharashtra are not .. and that's why we are supporting those politician by giving Kashmir and other state examples .. bloody those politician who got elected now should work on education system, health system but no .. they know that those fool guys can be fool always by the name of religion ... and see the amount of comments are giving other state examples ....shame on your thinking !!!
                                    Reply
                                    1. I
                                      INDIAN
                                      Aug 28, 2014 at 9:12 am
                                      Media has showed that story as well might be you didn't want to read that ... please dont compare one crime to another .. be human and think as human ...
                                      Reply
                                      1. I
                                        INDIAN
                                        Aug 28, 2014 at 9:07 am
                                        Please stop comparing,, everyone oppose that as well,,, people like you are the biggest threat to humanity ....
                                        Reply
                                        1. I
                                          INDIAN
                                          Aug 28, 2014 at 11:39 am
                                          Salute Mr: Anil ... God bless your thinking ..
                                          Reply
                                          1. I
                                            INDIAN
                                            Aug 28, 2014 at 11:42 am
                                            Yes coz kerala is 100% educated and we are not .. people reached moon still we are fighting under influence of politician...
                                            Reply
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