two girls in Muzaffarnagar
Darziyan Gali, Muzaffarnagar, from where police made the most number of arrests last week | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Text Size:

Muzaffarnagar: There will be more arrests in Muzaffarnagar in connection with the violence that erupted during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act last week, leading to the death of one person.

As many as 48 people have already been arrested so far and they are in judicial custody.

“There will be more arrests. We are basing these arrests on evidence in our video footage as well as that of journalists’,” Muzaffarnagar Superintendent of Police Satpal Antil told ThePrint.

Those arrested have been charged with rioting, attempt to murder and attempt to disrupt peace, among other offences.

Meanwhile, fear has gripped the residents of Muzaffarnagar as they feel they could be “next in line”.

‘Don’t know where police took my father & brothers’

Residents have complained of arbitrary arrests by police.

Naushad, a 26-year-old youth, was injured in the violence that took place after Friday prayers, following which he was taken to a nearby hospital. Four of Naushad’s family members had gone to visit him when the police arrived at the hospital and arrested all of them, along with Naushad.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

“They called us right before getting arrested, saying that the police are taking them away. Our father and brothers went merely to visit Naushad in the hospital, and the police took them away too,” Muhammad Wajid, Naushad’s elder brother, told ThePrint.

Wajid said he has no idea where the police had taken them.

It’s, however, not just the arrests, but even destruction of property, including mosques and homes, that has instilled fear among the residents.

Late on Friday night, at around 12.30 am, about 70-100 men allegedly broke the lock of 74-year-old Anwar Ilahi’s home, smashed his car’s glass and destroyed nearly everything that came their way as they went up the three floors of his home, shouting his name. Ilahi claimed not all men were in police uniform — many were in civilian clothes.

While Ilahi, still unsure about what befell him, was taken to the police vehicle parked outside, the men continued to destroy his property, his family charged.

Ilahi sitting with his belongings at his home
Anwar Ilahi at his home, while all his belongings lie scattered in the adjacent room | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint 

“After destroying everything, they took away the jewellery we had kept for the marriages of our two daughters. They even took away Rs 3.5 lakh cash that we had,” Ilahi’s wife, Hajjan Fakhra, said. 

women sitting with jewellery box
The empty jewellery boxes at Ilahi’s home | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Ilahi said he was kept in police custody for two days, before being released Sunday afternoon. 

“I’ve spent my entire life in Muzaffarnagar. I have never felt this kind of terror and fear — not even during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots,” he added.

Azhar Khan, a correspondent of a local news channel Tehzeeb TV, echoed similar sentiments. “The Muzaffarnagar riots were a Hindu versus Muslim issue. Today, it’s men in uniforms entering houses and disrupting peace. That’s causing severe distrust,” Khan told ThePrint.


Also read: 11, including an 8-year-old, die in anti-citizenship law protests in Uttar Pradesh


‘Don’t know how I will feed my two children now’

Shanno, 19, shivered as she talked, trying to make sense of her husband’s death while comforting her one-and-half-year-old daughter, Umaira. Shanno, who is seven months pregnant with her second child, lost her husband, Noor Muhammad (25), in the violence last Friday. 

“I have no one but him. There’s no one at my sasural. He’s all I had. I don’t know how I will feed my two children now,” Shanno said.

Man standing with his grand-daughter
Shanno’s uncle with her one-and-half-year-old daughter | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

While Muhammad’s family isn’t sure as to who shot at him, SP Antil said that he is 100 per cent sure there was no police firing during the protests. 

The cries of Shanno’s daughter are contrasted by the eerie silence at Meenakshi Chowk — an otherwise bustling street. It was at this chowk where most of the violence took place. 

A few of the 70-odd shops in the area have been sealed after the violence.

shops sealed
A few shops at Meenakshi Chowk have been sealed in the wake of the violence last week | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

SP Antil said sealing of shops is an administrative decision. “We don’t have any say in this.” 

Only those who were part of the rioting should fear, says SP

But it isn’t just Meenakshi Chowk that is silent. Even Darziyan Gali, where Abdul Kareem mosque was allegedly vandalised by the police, is silent. 

“Look at what they did to this mosque. How will anyone speak up now? There’s just a lot of dread,” said a resident, who lives near the mosque and refused to be identified.

Asked about the palpable fear that has gripped people, the SP said, “Only those who were part of the rioting should fear. No one else.”


Also read: ‘They killed my UPSC aspirant son’ — mother of man killed in Bijnor anti-CAA violence


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

6 Comments Share Your Views

6 COMMENTS

  1. There can’t be a worst joke than saying “Muslims are fearful” of Modi government. They can come out of their homes in thousands and shout Islamic slogans, abuse administration, attack police, throw stones, hurl petrol bombs, fire bullets, burn vehicles and shops. They refuse to accept the facts even if explained repeatedly but willingly believe anti Modi propaganda from anti-national Congress and Leftist goons. India must be prepared for more trouble from headless Islamists in coming days.

  2. those things should have been well thought before doing violence & destroying public property.do u think police will felicitate u for burning buses & destroying public property?

  3. There is video of destruction of hanuman temple in Bihar which is there for all to see on Twitter. Unbelievable peddling victimhood after all the violence.

  4. India needs to remove growing negative perceptions of its domestic policies in the Muslim world . Column by Shri C Raja Mohan in IE. Perhaps we should be working diligently to prevent the acts / situations that are creating the entirely accurate, well founded perceptions. 2. What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is beyond the pale. Maalik rehem kare.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here