Muslims still not feeling safe, says minister

Amid cases of distress sale of properties by Muslims in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district, minister of state for food and civil supplies Iqbal Mehmood has admitted that the state government has failed to instil confidence among Muslims in the region.

"Abhi hum Musalmano ke dil se dar door nahi kar paye hain (They have not been able to drive fear out of the hearts of us Muslims)," said Mehmood.

Mehmood was part of the 10-member harmony committee, headed by senior minister Shivpal Yadav, which visited Muzaffarnagar after the riots.

"We have failed to assure Muslims that no harm will be done if they return to their villages. They are afraid of returning to their ancestral villages. It is the reason behind distress sale of properties," Mehmood said.

He added the issue will be taken up with Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Arshad Madani. "Madani will be coming to Sambhal for a programme tonight and I will discuss what can be done about the distress sale of properties by Muslims," he said.

When contacted, Madani, too, said Muslims were still feeling insecure. "Efforts should be made by the government. I will raise this before the CM. It is sad that Muslims are not feeling safe even after several months of riots," he said.

The state government's clause in the affidavit submitted at the time of receiving Rs 5 lakh as compensation that the beneficiary will not stake claim to his ancestral house is said to be instrumental in pushing people to sell off their properties.

"When people understand that it is not possible to return home, they think it is better to sell them. We have little role in it," Madani said.

He also said that distress sale of properties was not the answer. "Where will you go after selling property in India. Everywhere you are in a minority. Fleeing is not the answer," Madani said.

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