Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday raked up the Muzaffarnagar riots and Muhammad Ali Jinnah portrait issues during his election rally in communally sensitive Kairana which will go to polls on May 28. Addressing a rally in Shamli in support of BJP candidate Mriganka Singh – daughter of deceased party MP Hukum Singh — the UP Chief Minister appealed to the electorate not to provide any opportunity to anti-social elements to engineer riots in the western part of the state.
In his address, the CM made three references to the killing of Sachin and Gaurav, the two Jat youths who were allegedly lynched in Kawaal village of Muzaffarnagar in 2013 that led to riots. He said that when innocents were killed, no political party except the BJP had raised its voice. He asked the Samajwadi Party and others why they were silent when Sachin and Gaurav were killed.
He said that polarisation is already done. “On one side, there are people who flared up riots in Muzaffarnagar and western Uttar Pradesh. Youths like Sachin and Gaurav were brutally murdered and they along with others were implicated.”
Sachin and Gaurav were allegedly murdered after they accused Shahnawaz Qureshi, a member of Shahpur panchayat, of harassing and killing their relative. The incident had led to a mahapanchayat that was followed by riots between Jats and Muslims. At least 62 people were killed in riots and around 40,000 people were displaced.
Adityanath said that when BJP workers raised the voice of innocents and demanded justice, they were booked. “Workers like Suresh Rana (now a minister in Adityanath’s Cabinet) and Sanjeev Balyan (former Union minister) were booked, Hukum Singh (former Kairana MP) was stopped from getting justice for people.”
He said that the opposition parties are indulging in appeasement politics. “If they get an opportunity again, they will follow the policy of appeasement and trigger riots in western Uttar Pradesh,” the CM said. He claimed that situation improved after BJP formed government in the state. “Riots had become an industry in western Uttar Pradesh in the past and that BJP government improved the situation.”
Attempting to woo the Hindu voters who comprise around 10 lakh of the total eligible voters’ strength of 16 lakh in the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, Adityanath said that the previous government discriminated on the basis of religion. Adityanath said that he was told by the administration that earlier there were restrictions on the use of microphones, conch shells and pellet drums during Kanwar yatra. “If they could, they would have stopped Kanwar yatra too,” he said.
He said that when he asked the administration about the reasons behind such restrictions, officials said that ‘some people feel bad’. “I said that if some people feel bad because of celebrations of our festivals, do we feel good with the festival celebration by others?” The CM said that his government withdrew all restrictions and used all machinery to keep a watch on anti-social elements. He said arrangements were being made to develop dedicated lanes at both sides of Gangnahar for the convenience of pilgrims.
On the controversy over Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait inside the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the CM said that it is not an issue instead the issue of sugarcane farmers are of the prime concern. “Some people are chanting — sugar cane or Jinnah. I can say, sugarcane is an issue for us but we will also not allow Jinnah’s portrait.” He assured that all sugarcane farmers will be paid their dues.
Kairana along with neighbouring Noorpor seat will go to polls on May 28. Results will be declared on May 31. In Kairana, BJP has pitted deceased MP Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka against the united opposition’s Tabassum Hassan.