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Muzaffarnagar riots: 30,000 people still living in 65 refugee colonies

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Sep 8, 2016, 12:50 am IST
Updated : Sep 8, 2016, 12:50 am IST

Three years since the Muzaffarnagar riots, around 30,000 people expelled from their villages continue to live in 65 refugee colonies.

Three years since the Muzaffarnagar riots, around 30,000 people expelled from their villages continue to live in 65 refugee colonies.

The book, Living Apart: Communal Violence and Forced Displacement in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, authored by Harsh Mander, Akram Akhtar, Zafar Eqbal and Rajanya Bose, was released here on Wednesday. It chronicles the lack of interest shown by the state government in rebuilding the lives of displaced families.

Aman Biradari and Afkar India conducted a detailed survey of the resettlement colonies formed after the riots and their findings are recorded in the book.

The violent murderous attacks that took place in September 2013 on Muslim settlements, comprising mainly poor agricultural workers in the two districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, were based on a toxic hate campaign that claimed that Muslim boys were enticing Jat Hindu girls in a “love jihad.”

“A people who had never fought each other in history, suddenly became bitter enemies: estranged, fearful and angry. Not even during the Partition of 1947, did a drop of blood flow in our villages,” says a passage from the book. During the riots, nearly a hundred people died, women faced sexual violence, thousands of homes and livelihoods were burnt down and ruined and large numbers of people resolved never to return to the land of their ancestors.

Just three months after the carnage, the state government officially terminated all relief camps, several thousand displaced persons were left still in fear and dread, and unwilling to return home because they continued to feel unsafe. Thousands stayed on through two winters in unofficial camps, in which children died in the cold. “Even in the immediate months after the riots, state support was restricted to food supplies or a few blankets in many camps, and only after the national outrage that followed the death of many children in the winter did the medical team visit the area,” the book notes.

Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow