Heightened Sparring Over Kairana As BJP MLA Issues Ultimatum

Sangeet Som gave the Samajwadi Party government 15 days to bring back Hindu families who have allegedly migrated from Kairana.

BJP leader Sangeet Som. Credit: PTI.

BJP leader Sangeet Som. Credit: PTI.

Kairana/Lucknow: Political tensions over the alleged migration of Hindus from Kairana escalated today as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Sangeet Som gave an ultimatum to the Uttar Pradesh government to bring them back within 15 days. Som did this in an apparent bid to keep the issue alive ahead of assembly elections in the state.

As Som, who is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Atul Pradhan took out separate rallies, prohibitory orders were enforced across Shamli district. The borders of Kairana were sealed and paramilitary forces were deployed. Both rallies were stopped by authorities.

Som said that if the SP government in the state did not bring back the Hindus who have allegedly migrated, no one would be able to stop BJP workers from going to Kairana. The warning came even as the Shamli district administration was said to have found that only three families from a list of 346 families said to have “fled” due to persecution actually left Kairana due to fear of criminals.

Hitting back at Som, SP spokesman and senior cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav trashed charges that an “exodus” had occurred and accused the saffron party of stoking communal tensions in Uttar Pradesh for political gains and with the 2017 assembly polls in mind.

Yadav proposed that a team of five “apolitical persons” visit Kairana to investigate the issue. “We suggest Pramod Krishnam, Swami Kalyan, Naraina Giri, Swami Chinmayanand and Swamy Chakrapani to go and see the reality and give report,” he told reporters in Lucknow.

Som had started his march to Kairana from his house in Sardhana, which is about 60 kilometres away in the adjoining Meerut district. Som was marching with thousands of followers. The march was stopped at the border of the town, Meerut’s district collector said. “As a precautionary measure police and PAC have been stationed in heavy numbers. Section 144 is in force. No one will be allowed to break the law in this situation,” he added.

Shamli’s district magistrate Sujit Kumar told PTI that prohibitory orders have been enforced across Shamli district, including Kairana town, and any march or yatra with political leaders would not be allowed to take place without permission.

All entrances to Kairana have been sealed, paramilitary forces have been deployed and security officials are keeping a watch on the situation.

Som said he postponed his ‘Nirbhay’ rally after prohibitory orders were enforced.

“We’ve given a 15 day ultimatum. Either the government gets back the people who’ve migrated or we’ll have to take to the streets,” he said. “If in 15 days they do not return we’re warning that no one will be able to stop BJP workers from going to Kairana or to any other place.

Pradhan said Som is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and it was to counter his “malicious” efforts that the SP attempted to hold their ‘Sadbhavna’ rally.

“There is no exodus in Kairana or anywhere in the state.We have intelligence and other reports in this regard. BJP leaders including Hukum Singh and others are inciting communal passions for political gains as assembly elections are near,” Yadav said.

“Their only work is to orchestrate riots and let people fight with each other but the state government will not let this happen,” said Yadav. “Be it Sangeet Som or anyone else the state government will not let anyone to plan riots. We will collect proof against them and will expose them before media soon,” he added.

Rubbishing reports of migration from Kairana due to communal reasons, the Congress accused the BJP of vitiating the atmosphere in the state to polarise votes before the polls.

“Our district and city units have sent us reports as per which there is no migration. BJP is out to vitiate the atmosphere for polarising votes at the behest of their top leadership,” Congress Legislature Party leader Pradip Mathur told reporters in Lucknow.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the yatras by BJP and SP indicate an “understanding” between the two parties to vitiate the atmosphere in order to reap political benefits by instigating riots.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Salim said that a section of Kairana’s population including both Hindus and Muslims have migrated from the town over the years due to socio-economic issues and not because of communalisation. He demanded that the BJP apologise for its claims of a Hindu “exodus”.

 State BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya met Governor Ram Naik with the demand for a CBI probe into the “exodus” and presented the report of a five-member party team that visited Kairana for an on-the-spot assessment.