Four days before the bypoll in Kairana Lok Sabha constituency, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday raised the issue of Muzaffarnagar riots and appealed to people not to give “anti-social” elements the opportunity to trigger riots in western Uttar Pradesh. Thrice in his speech, Adityanath named Jat youths Sachin and Gaurav, who were allegedly lynched in Kawaal village of Muzaffarnagar in 2013 after they accused Shahnawaz Qureshi for harassing their relative and allegedly killed him. That incident had led to a mahapanchayat meet that was followed by riots between Jats and Muslims in western Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a public meeting in Shamli in support of BJP candidate Mriganka Singh, the chief minister said, “Polarisation is already done. I know. On one side, there are people who flared up riots in Muzaffarnagar and western Uttar Pradesh. Youths like Sachin and Gaurav were brutally murdered and they along with others were implicated. Then no other party spoke out. Only BJP workers raised their voice. Workers like Suresh Rana (now UP minister) and Sanjeev Balyan (former Union minister) were booked, Hukum Singh (former Kairana MP) was stopped from getting justice for people.”
Adityanath asked why SP and other parties were “silent” when Sachin and Gaurav were killed. “If they get an opportunity again, they will follow the policy of appeasement and trigger riots in western Uttar Pradesh,” he said, adding that riots had become an “industry” in western Uttar Pradesh in the past and that BJP government improved the situation.
“If they could, they would have stopped Kanwar yatra too,” he said, adding that before kanwar yatra — the yatra passes through Shamli — last year, the administration told him about restrictions on use of microphones, conch shells and pellet drums. He said that on being asked about reason for the restrictions, the officials said some people “feel bad” about it. “I said that if some people feel bad because of celebrations of our festivals, do we feel good with the festival celebration by others?”
Adityanath said his government withdrew the restrictions, and helicopters were used to keep a watch on “anti-social” elements and shower flowers on kanwar yatris. He said arrangements were being made to develop dedicated lanes at both sides of Gangnahar for the convenience of pilgrims. “Ab nahi hoga to kab hoga (If not now, then when),” he said.
In an apparent reference to the controversy over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Aligarh Muslim University, Adityanath said, “Koi keh raha ki ganna ya Jinnah. Main keh sakta hun ki ganna hamara mudda hai lekin Jinnah ki tasvir bhi nahi lagne denge hum log (some people are chanting — sugar cane or Jinnah. I can say, sugarcane is an issue for us but we will also not allow Jinnah’s portrait).” The chief minister said payment of around Rs 984.88 crore has been done to farmers from sugar mills in Kairana and said he has taken responsibility to ensure payment to every farmer.