Muslims in Meerut Accuse Yogi’s Police of Discrimination, Threaten Exodus

The local Muslims have put up ‘for sale’ posters outside their houses, requesting people to buy their houses so that they could relocate.

Local Muslims have put up 'for sale’ posters outside their houses in Meerut
In a development which is a reminder of “Kairana exodus”, over a hundred of Muslim families of the Lisadi village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, have alleged that they were being prosecuted for being the religious minority by the local police under the watch of Yogi Adityanath government. They have also threatened to leave the area where they were born, grew up and have built their assets.

Since the BJP has formed the government in the State last year there has been a background of allegation of police discrimination, but this is the first of its kind of incident in which Muslims have threatened an exodus due to the alleged police prosecution.

According to the local Muslim residents, Lisadi village has seen repeated communal tensions after numerous incidents of harassment and allegedly one-sided action by the police in clashes involving Hindus and Muslims. The local Muslims have put up ‘for sale’ posters outside their houses, requesting people to buy their houses so that they could relocate.

“This house is for sale. I am a Muslim. I am selling my house. Every small incidents and clash here are given a communal angle,” reads the posters and banners that have appeared on several dozen houses in Lisadi area which is part of Old Meerut city.

“There has always been a minor sense of communal tension in the air of Western Uttar Pradesh. So the local Muslims have become habituated with the communal clashes. But since the last one year, the situation has become worse. Right now the atmosphere is always charged with an extremely high amount of tension which could lead to violence any time. Smallest of the fights are given communal colours. Even if a child abuses another child, the elders are quickly involved and they would make it a Hindu-Muslim tension if the two children belong to different communities,” Ismael, one of the residents told Newsclick.

“The problem is not just that. The police do not act as a neutral agency. Police tend to prosecute the Muslims only. Politicians belonging to the ruling party immediately jump in and make it a communal issue even if the matter is far removed from that. A message is being sent to the minority community that no one can save us anymore,” he added with a brooding sense of fear.

Haneef, another resident and Ismael’s neighbour said that though the posters have been put on a few dozens of the houses, more than a hundred families have decided to sell their property and leave.

“We are fed up of the constant tension and fights. People were promised development and not this kind of naked and raw majoritarian atmosphere where everything is seen through the prism of majoritarian identity. It is not possible to live here anymore,” he added.
He referred to two small fights alleging that they were communalised by the politicians of ruling party and the police.

“Two motorcycles collided in Lisadi gate last week but that fight was given such a shape as if it was the two communities who had collided on the road. It seems that ahead of the General Election everything is being shown in a larger majoritarian and communal perspective. So when the two people approached police, one side which was Hindu was given a hearing. An FIR was registered on their complaint but when another side approached police, they were not allowed to even enter the police station. Hence their complaint was not entertained by the police. Is this how a law and order controlling agency should behave? If the police start seeing people as Hindu and Muslim then who will control the fight and maintain law and order in the State,” Haneef asked.

In another instance of a brawl between two groups of people, the group which happened to be Muslim was asked by the police to “go out of police station”, alleged local Muslims.

However, the local police rejected the claims of prosecution. Senior Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pandey said that police was acting in the most neutral manner possible as religious identities do not matter for the police.

Dinesh Shukla, the police official in-charge of the Lisadi area which falls under Kotwali police station, refuted the allegation. While talking to Newsclick Shukla said that if the local residents had some grievance about some incidents, they should approach senior officials. “Putting up posters is not the solution. We are trying to resolve this,” he said.

Interestingly, the local MLA Rafeeq Ansari agreed with the views of the Muslims residents of Lisadi village. He said that the police had increasingly become partisan and even he had to bear the brunt of that, let alone a normal ordinary Muslim.

“I want to ask the local police officials why two parameters exist, one for Muslims and another for Hindus. The police should have acted in a non-partisan manner and should have registered the counter FIR as well, as the popular saying goes, justice should not only be done, it should also be seen to be done,” Ansari told Newsclick.

He said that even the police intervention will not sort out the issue as the society has become much more polarised.

“It is not about one or two incidents. The society in UP has become much more polarised and communalised under the Yogi Adityanath rule. Hatred and violence have been legitimised and made normal. Hate speech and violence like lynching do not disturb people anymore. What we saw in Lisadi area is just a tip of the iceberg,” he added.

This is not the first time that such an incident has been reported from Meerut. Last year, a Muslim family in Meerut was forced to leave a house they had recently bought in an area which was seen as populated by Hindus in the city. The Hindu jeweller who had sold the house to a Muslim family was forced by the local Hindus, led by the BJP leaders, to return the money and force the Muslim family to shift out.




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