The molestation of a 19-year-old newly married Hindu woman by Muslim youths has led to communal tension in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh. As a result of the incident, which happened last week, Hindu families are now thinking of leaving Aligarh, say reports.
IN just a couple of days, Babri Mandi in Aligarh has changed the way it functioned. These days, as soon as darkness descends on the Muslim-dominated area, shops down shutters and people return to their homes. All this happens as CRPF and police personnel keep watch, in the daytime as well as the curfew-bound nights.
For Mani Kumar, this is not the place he left behind when he went to Chandigarh on an official trip a week ago.
“I came back this morning (Saturday) and heard about the incident. Whatever is happening with the Hindus is wrong. How long are we supposed to tolerate?” he said after meeting the woman who was allegedly molested by local goons Wednesday, leading to the clash. He also met the local property dealer “to get an idea on how to sell my house for a better price”.
The woman told The Sunday Express in detail about the incident. “I thought I won’t be able to return home alive. They tried to get hold of my ‘pallu’ while I was on the bike (which her husband was riding). They held my neck and dragged me by hair towards a secluded lane. I shouted but no one came to help. When my husband intervened, he was attacked with a knife,” she said.
She claimed that the attackers took away her gold chain, ‘mangalsutra’ and her cell phone but police did not lodge a complaint of loot. “Police recovered the phone but could not tell about my other belongings,” she said, adding that she could identify the attackers but police were “refusing” to conduct an identification parade.
“I was born and raised in Babri Mandi. Nadeem (the main accused arrested in the case) and his aides have no work. All they do is threaten people and loot them,” said her husband.
“Almost every other day, women belonging to Hindu families are being subjected to harassment and eve-teasing. The police refuse to act on the complaints and the accused persons are getting emboldened,” the report quoted the Mayor as saying.
After meeting Additional DM Awadhesh Tiwari on Friday with affidavits urging the administration to buy their houses and shops, most Hindu families have packed their bags. Police are reportedly trying to convince them to change their mind.
Members of Hindu and Muslim communities stand divided on the existing scenario.
The incident led stone-pelting between the two groups which eventually grew so intense that a contingent of police had to be called in to control the violence, a report in The Times of India said. The report quoted a local resident who said that ten families were ready to sell their properties and every family in Babri Mandi eventually wanted to leave.
The report also said that notices for selling the property were also put up outside the homes of Muslim families in the area. The Muslim families said that a prominent local leader was fanning communal tensions. Mayor of Aligarh Shakuntala Bharti, according to Deccan Chronicle, said people of one community were “making it difficult” for these families to continue living in their houses in Babri Mandi area.
This comes close on the heels of reports of migration by Hindu families in Kairana in Shamli district last month. In June, BJP MP Hukum Singh had claimed that Hindu families in Kairana, again in Uttar Pradesh, were leaving the area due to threats and extortion by Muslim criminals. Singh had even released a list of 346 families who had allegedly been forced to flee the town, which has 85 percent Muslim population.