All 17 Muslim families have left the Murgi Farm area near Haridwar after the murder of a taxi driver, who reportedly had an affair with a Muslim girl.
The 19-year-old girl’s father and brother have been arrested for the murder of Lakshman Singh Kalura (32), who was found dead with his legs crushed along railway tracks close to Railwala town, 13 km from Haridwar.
Tehri Farm, where Kalura lived, and Murgi Farm, where he went to meet the girl, are both in Raiwala town.
According to Raiwala SHO Ashish Gusain, Kalura went to Murgi Farm on the night of October 3 to meet the girl.
The girl’s father, who had reportedly tried to end the affair earlier, dissuaded Kalura from meeting his daughter that day. There was allegedly an argument between the two and Kalura’s body was found later that night, Gusain said.
Raiwala remains tense and Section 144 is in force for about a week now.
On October 6, after messages related to the killing circulated on social media, which Gusain said were fake and were spread to ignite communal discord, at least four shops owned by Muslims were vandalised by a mob in Kankhal, 15 km from Raiwala.
The same day, a makeshift shop and a wooden cart owned by Muslims were set ablaze in Rishikesh, 13 km from Raiwala, by unidentified persons.
The police officer said that following the incident, the girl and the rest of her family had left for a town around 60 km from Raiwala, reportedly for security.
To avoid backlash, other Muslims in Murgi Farm also started leaving the area on October 4. Police are guarding the area to avoid vandalism of their property by miscreants.
“Most of the Muslim families residing in the Murgi Farm locality were from Sikroda (60 km from Raiwala). They’ve returned to Sikroda after the incident,” Gusain said.
Dehradun ASP Manjunath T C said, “Just after the incident, many Muslim families (other than the ones in the Murgi Farm locality) left Raiwala. After seeing that the situation is getting under control they are now slowly returning.”
Kalura’s wife Sangeeta (32), who is worried about the future of her three children, denied her husband had an affair . “People can say whatever they want. I want my husband’s killers to get life imprisonment,” she said.
Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee president Pritam Singh said: “If such incidents are not stopped, they’ll spread out across the state.” He said he could not recall an incident in Uttarakhand where Muslims had left their homes out of fear.
Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt said, “The government is looking into the situation without any bias. All BJP workers have been told that if they are found participating in any communal violence, there will be no concessions for them.”