Muzaffarnagar riots: Muslims, Jats hold parallel panchayats, dig in their heels

HussainpuraMuslim gathering in Hussainpura Friday. (PTI)

Two days after the murder of three Muslim youths in a Muzaffarnagar village blamed on Jats of an adjoining village — shattered the tenuous calm in the region, Muslims and Jats held parallel panchayats, digging in their heels while nervous policemen kept watch.

The panchayat in the Muslim-dominated village of Hussainpura demanded the swift arrest of the murder accused and Rs 25 lakh as compensation for the kin of the victims. They warned that if the culprits were not caught, a mahapanchayat would be called on November 7.

In adjoining Mohammadpur-Raisingh, leaders of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and 36 Jat biradaris attended a panchayat, urging Jats to "unite, stay strong" while finding a solution to the conflict. They said that they would not celebrate Diwali on Sunday as a mark of protest.

While Hussainpura residents said their panchayat was a precursor to a mahapanchayat planned for November 7 in case the police investigation was not conclusive, the Jats of Mohammadpur-Raisingh said they had planned a meeting on November 6.

According to FIR registered on October 30, Amroz, Ajmal and Meharban were working in a sugarcane field along with two others when 20-25 people, of which 15 have been identified, attacked the group. They dragged the three youths to Mohammadpur-Raisingh, while two others managed to escaped and informed Shahnawaz, husband of the Hussainpura pradhan. When they headed to the sugarcane field, Shahnawaz and other village residents found the three bodies.

Hussainpura wants the swift arrest of those named in the FIR and identification of those who have not been named. "The police have arrested only eight people. There were at least twenty others. Those who attacked these three boys came with arms and with the intention of killing Muslims," Shahnawaz said.

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