Following a report submitted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) investigations carried out by The Indian Express have revealed contrasting findings.
Based on police reports and information from the government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), the NHRC recently claimed that 250 Hindu families have been on the run from Kairana after being harassed and threatened by Muslims, who happen to in the "majority" in the area. The situation, according to NHRC, worsened due to the demographic change in the region following the rehabilitation of the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots in UP in 2013.
However, reporters from The Indian Express found only 12 of the 760 cases filed at the Kairana police station since January 2016 involve gender violence or sexual crimes. A majority of the offences pertain to theft and dacoity, which is not surprising, given the squalor and shocking poverty in which Muslims are forced to live in the region.
A grim picture of starvation, low wages and debilitating conditions emerge from the testimonies of those who spoke to the newspaper. One man claimed he was reduced to feeding guests at his daughter's wedding rotis and onion, having no means to serve them anything else. Another said his mother had been bitten by a snake while offering namaz.
Most of the displaced in the riots — numbering close to 30,000 — have been living in unspeakable sanitary conditions in 65 "colonies" across Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. As many as 600 riot victims have been living in Jinnat Colony near Kairana Dehat, without power. Since schools are far, children are forced to attend local madrassas. Incidents of burglary are common after dark due to the lack of electricity.
Earlier the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) had pointed out that, as per the 2011 Census, more than 80% of the population of Kairana has always been Muslim, thereby dismissing the NHRC's claims of a demographic shift having taken place. "An addition of 2,000 riot victims there has not made them more dominating," added Wajid Hassan, Nagar Palika Chairman of Kandhla, near Kairana, and a member of the Samajwadi Party, to The Indian Express.
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