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Muzaffarnagar riot report: Will there be closure for the communal carnage?

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:55 IST

The Commission constituted to look into the Muzaffarnagar riots submitted its 775 page report to UP Governor, Ram Naik, yesterday. Headed by Justice (retired) Vishnu Sahai, the report aims to lift the fog from the communal carnage that killed 60 and displaced over 40,000 between August and September 2013.

The entire incident has been shroud in mystery with no clarity on the identities of the culprits. The role of local politicians has long been under the scanner, and the report, which hasn't been made public yet, is sure to shed light in that direction.

Here's what one must remember about the Muzaffarnagar riots:

How did it start?

History is hazy. Especially when it comes to sensitive issues.

However, there were definite incidents which paved the way for the Muzaffarnagar riots. The murder of two Jat boys, Sachin Singh and Gaurav Singh and one Muslim youth, Shahnawaz Qureshi in Kawal, Jansath tehsil, near Muzaffarnagar city, polarized the communities. The deaths took place in the last days of August.

The result was a month of violence.

There are two main versions of what lead to the deaths of these youths. While there are reports of the harassment of a Jat girl by the Muslim youth, the FIR records only mention a tussle over a motorcycle accident.

Whatever the case, lives were lost.

The scale of the damage

Despite who started it, the bloodshed killed Hindus and Muslims alike. The Muzaffarnagar riot has been dubbed the worst communal tragedy witnessed by UP since the Babri masjid demolition. When the police could no longer control the mob, the army was called in. It stayed in UP till September.

Yet, the violence did not abate before 60 deaths and displacement of around 40,000 people.

When politicians stepped in

The riots initially started as three men lost their lives. That was not communal. It was either an accident or a case of eve teasing. However, the fact that the incidents did turn into a shocking communal butchery is evidence enough about forces at work in Muzaffarnagar and Shamili.

The political parties, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) were quick to address gatherings and set the blame game rolling.

The wedge that the violence created has been used by politicians in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well. Calling the 2014 General Elections a 'revenge', Amit Shah, President BJP, egged Hindus from UP to avenge the riots by voting for the BJP.

Life in post-riot Muzaffarnagar

The riot victims are still far from rehabilitated. The horror of the violence has been doubled by the apathy of the authorities. Be it the 8,000 people in the relief camps of Kairana constituency waiting for houses promised to them by the SP or the six ongoing cases of rape (the only ones registered and still undecided), life for the displaced people of Muzaffarnagar is all about unfulfilled promises.

Though the report will undoubtedly help provide an insight into the riots, communal harmony has been fractured irreplaceably in the region.

For the people of Muzzafarnagar and Shamili, the Jat girl who was eve-teased or the accident involving Shahnawaz Qureshi, Sachin Singh and Gaurav Singh have been characters who ushered in a season of doom.

First published: 24 September 2015, 3:31 IST