Tension prevailed in Madhopur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district after 150 Muslim families reportedly left their homes Monday, fearing a backlash from BJP MP Yogi Adityanath’s outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) over a land dispute. Heavy police force including PAC personnel have been deployed in the village to prevent any disturbance.
Kushinagar additional district magistrate Ram Kewal Tiwari admitted that there is tension in the village. “It is a property dispute. There was a minor clash and we deployed PAC. HYV is active in this region and they often hold meetings, but we handle the situation,” Tiwari claimed. He, however, denied that Muslims have left the village.
HYV held a meeting at Madhopur on Monday to show solidarity with the village’s Hindus following a property dispute. The outfit has reportedly given call for a Hindu mahapanchayat on March 3 if its demand of handing over possession of a 1.5-acre disputed plot to a Hindu villager is not met.
“We had gone there to show solidarity with our worker Digvijay Kishore Shahi who was assaulted by a Muslim when he resisted their move to grab his land. Since the Muslims have done wrong, they have fled. We are not responsible,” Sunil Singh, state president of HYV said.
He added: “Digvijay owns that land. The district administration admitted it but refused to hand him the possession before Holi claiming that communal atmosphere will be vitiated. We cannot wait for that long. On March 3, we will hold a Hindu mahapanchayat”.
Locals said the issue erupted following a land dispute between Digvijay Kishore Shahi and another villager Ameen. The 1.5 acre plot belonging to the gram panchayat is close to the village and both groups are staking claim to it.
On February 13, a clash broke out between the two groups. Muslims claimed that nearly 1,000 HYV workers attacked them. The district administration deployed PAC and a case was registered on Shahi’s complaint. Two Muslim men were arrested.
“We continued to stay in our village after the incident. But, HYV announced a big meeting on February 23. We sought help of local administration but no one came forward,” Aurangzeb (22) said.
Social worker Mohammad Anwar Siddiqui said: “Police told villagers told to leave the village before the HYV.”
Aurangzeb said Muslims left the village on February 22 to avoid confrontations. He added that the HYV meeting was attended by nearly 1,500 workers, including state president Sunil Singh. Provocative speeches were delivered during the meeting.
The Muslims are yet to return home, he claimed.