A dozen Muslim families flee a village in Kaushambi district fearing police atrocities, communal tensions

By Siddhant Mohan, TwoCircles.net

Yet another case of an exodus of Muslim families has emerged from UP, this time from Kaushambi district. About a dozen Muslim families have fled the village in the first week of July due to fear of Police atrocities.  As per the allegations, the police actions are the result of the pressure from the BJP MLA. The case pertains to Surseni village of Sarai Akil area of Kaushambi district.

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The mass exodus followed the incident on June 29 when two groups landed into the clash with each other over a truck loaded with sand. According to a local source, Dr. Nisar Ahmad, a resident of the same village, had called a sand truck for some of his work, but the truck was allegedly overloaded.

Manoj Dwivedi, the former village head, and his brother Rajendra Dwivedi immediately started filming the sand trucks entering into the village with their cellphones. This matter led to a clash between Dr Nisar and Dwivedis, who have been alleging Nisar as a member of the Sand Mafia.

The sources further informed that people from both the sides gathered at the site of the clash, and soon it turned into a violent episode. Followed by this, a case was registered at Sarai Akil police station against 11 named individual including Dr Nisar and about 60 unnamed people. Charges put are sections 307, 147, 148, 323 and 504 of Indian Penal Code.

Soon after the FIR was filed, the local police started raiding the Muslim colonies and houses in Surseni village, making police action look biased against one community. The locals have alleged that the Police have been acting only against Muslims after receiving such order from Sanjay Gupta, a BJP MLA from Chail constituency of Kaushambi.

The locals, as well as the sources, have alleged that while Police successfully arrested seven people named in the FIR, it continued the search for the remaining four people. During their raid, Police allegedly barged into the houses of Muslims and mistreated women and children for several days. As per the locals, the police action has been “religiously” as well as “politically” motivated.

Aggravated by the police actions, Muslims of the village started abandoning the village by locking their houses and taking their belongings with them. Soon, the issue caught the attention of Reena Shukla, the current village head, who rushed to the Muslim neighbourhood and promised an end to atrocities. While few families stopped, but many decided not to stay. The practices to call them back to the village have already started, and reportedly, few families have returned back on the assurance of justice.

However, police deny that any such exodus has ever happened in the village. Hemant Mishra, the Station House Officer at Sarai Akil, said, “The accused Nisar is part of the sand mafia, and we were there on the spot on June 29 to catch him red-handed. But when the sand trucks came in, we immediately got stuck in violence with Nisar and his companions. Muslims of the village joined them in attacking us, followed by which we filed FIR.”

“But the allegation of police atrocity is completely false. We did out pressure to arrest the rest, but we did not raid houses and mistreated locals to arrest the rest accused,” added Mishra accepting the fact that several families have fled the village “to escape arrest”.

Rajendra Dwivedi, one of the brothers who locals have accused, talked to TwoCircles.net after saying that “I am a Hindu, so I have a Hindu ideology”. Dwivedi said, “They are complete frauds, no such exodus has happened in that village. My brother has been the head for 15 years and I know their reality.”

When asked how he got involved in the issue, Dwivedi said, “Let’s say that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The police stopped a sand truck but Nisar and his friends attacked them, and even me and my brother Manoj,” adding that the whole exodus fiasco has happened after “few Samajwadi Party-backed Muslim journalists asked locals to do so just for pictures.” Dwivedi denied any direct association with BJP leader Sanjay Gupta saying that he only voted for him in the elections.

Sanjay Gupta too said that no exodus has ever happened in the village. He said, “Palayan nahin, nataunki kar rahe hain. Aur ye sab kuch patrkar logon ka karnaama hai. (This is not an exodus, but just a drama which is scripted by few journalists).”

Gupta said that he has been taking inputs from the police and sure that police did not raid houses, and it did not threaten or mistreat Muslim families on his orders or request. “Police were just trying to arrest one guy who was doing illegal work, but this all drama is of opposition in Kaushambi whom I have defeated in elections,” said Gupta. “This is just an episode of politics of blame for which I am being victimized.”

This is not the first episode of Muslim exodus in UP because of police torture. Last year, Muslims fled Paida village of Bijnor in western Uttar Pradesh after police allegedly killed three Muslims in order to raid for arresting accused.

(All Photos provided by sources.)