HIS party president Amit Shah seizing on his list and raising the pitch about a suspected Hindu “exodus,” Kairana BJP MP Hukum Singh was on the defensive Tuesday with evidence emerging that the “Hindu exodus” was anything but.
When told about the discrepancies that The Indian Express had found — many on the list were dead, some had left years ago, and others had left in search of better jobs — Singh said: “It is not about communal incidents…It is not about Hindus or Muslims, the list may not be foolproof. This is about law and order.”
The MP had released a list of 346 families who, he claimed, had been forced to flee the town, which has an estimated 80 per cent Muslim population. Kairana is in Shamli district which witnessed communal riots in 2013. The MP alleged that “Muslim gangs” such as the Mukeem Kala and Furhaan gangs were a “menace in western UP.”
When asked why names of Muslims who have also migrated from the area — local police have one such list — during the same time do not figure in the list, Singh had earlier claimed that such complaints never reached him. But today he said: “If we come across such cases where extortion and crime have made them leave the area, we will add them to the list. This is not a question of Hindus and Muslims.”
Claiming that there has been a surge in cases of extortion and crime against women, Singh said: “A lot of families, primarily traders, moved out of Kairana due to extortion threats. Those belonging to the working class also moved out. There were cases of crimes against women in their family. This had been the case for many years now. However, two months ago, provocation to take some action came when a woman from the Kashyap family was kidnapped, gang-raped and then murdered. Two Muslim men were charged with the crime and arrested. However, two men from the victim’s family were also made accused in the case,” Singh said.
“I decided to expose the biased manner in which this (Samajwadi Party) government has been functioning…I stand by the list. However, there can be a few names which have been added incorrectly,” Singh said.
“The issue in Kairana is a local problem,” he said. “Local criminal elements have established their roots in Kairana by getting political patronage of a particular party. The modus operandi of criminals in Kairana has been extortion. Murders have taken place due to that. This has been the case for the last 10 years but following 2013, the situation has only worsened,” Singh said, former BJP MLA from Kairana said.
Kairana, Singh further explained, has a high population of Muslim Gujjars. “This section was earlier involved in cattle theft. But lately, after this group received political patronage, several gangs were formed,” Singh said.
Shamli District Magistrate Sujeet Kumar, however, ruled out any communal and law and order issues behind some people leaving the area. “Kairana has always been peaceful… During Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, the area remained peaceful, and even during Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, people here sent a strong message of brotherhood,” Kumar told a news agency.