acing harassment by their Hindu neighbours, many Muslim families of Mavi, a village in Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh, have fled to go to safer places and put their houses on sale.
“These people victimise us. We keep meeting with their elders but they aren’t listening. The police are also pressuring us. If they keep targeting us, how will we live here? So we are leaving,” News Laundry quoted one of the villager, Shakeel Ahmed of Mawi Meera as saying. His is one of about 20 Muslim families that have decided to abandon the village, putting up notices on their doors that declare, “This house is for sale. We are leaving.”
By “these people” Shakeel meant some fellow Hindu villagers from the Gurjar community who vandalised Muslim houses and shot at them last month, and continue to harass them.
According to a news portal India Tomorrow, the Muslims have pasted posters on their houses before fleeing which read: ‘Makan Bikau Hai (House for Sale).”
The report quotes a Muslim villager Shamshad saying, “Gujjars of the village keep harassing us on small matters. When the matter goes to the police station, instead of filing a report, they settle the matter through dialogue, but later start harassing us again. We are very upset.”
The Muslims went to the Daurala police station, about 5 km away on the highway to Muzaffarnagar, and made a written complaint. Instead of taking action against the attackers the police pressured the Muslims to “compromise” another muslim man was quoted as saying by News Laundry. The police have refused to file an FIR so far and the village’s pradhan is also siding with the accused, he added. Instead, the police have left the assailants free to harass the Muslims, leaving them with no option but to abandon their homes.
Recently, a Gujjar youth from the village did some shopping worth Rs. 20 from a Muslim shopkeeper of the village. However, he did not pay. There was a fight between the two sides over it when the Muslim shopkeeper insisted for his money, the report said.
Shamshad alleged, “Gujjars broke into the house of the Muslim shopkeeper and opened fire.”
The aggrieved Muslims lodged a complaint with the police who they alleged did not “show any seriousness in the matter”.
Station House Officer (SHO) of Daurala police station said, “there was a mild clash between the two parties over a cigarette which is being overblown. There is no truth behind Muslims fleeing the village.”
SHO said, “In the dispute, there was stone-throwing from both sides although no one was injured in the clash. It was a minor dispute.”
According to Shamshad, the Muslims have been facing harassment at the hands of Hindus since 2013 following a dispute over a graveyard which was resolved. They have raised the issue with the top authorities in the state with no response.
The latest situation arose after there was a fight over a small purchase. The men from the Gujjar community broke into the victim’s house and opened fire.
Another villager Mohammad Sharif quoted by India Tomorrow said: “In Meerut, we tried to register our complaints with the police at three places. However, not a single case was registered in the police station. Every time the police refused to file cases saying these kinds of petty incidents keep happening in the village.” Sharif said the police did not take into account that fire was opened when the men from Gujjar community barged into their house.
“We are fed up with the conflicts here. The administration does not listen to our complaints and the village does not have a conducive atmosphere, so we have decided to flee”, says Sharif.