Kanghala/Shamli: Rape and sexual assaults are the usual phenomenon in almost all cases of communal clashes, and the recent violence in Muzaffarnagar and its surrounding areas were no exceptions.
Scores of women, including minor girls, were raped, gang-raped and sexually assaulted in Lisarh, Lank, Bahawadi, Hasanpur, Mohammadpur, Baghpat and many other small villages of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Panipat districts of Uttar Pradesh. The rape took place when the people were leaving their villages to save their lives and honour, say victims.
Thousands of people, who moved out of their native places fearing for their lives, feel safe and secure in Kairana, Kandhala and other small towns. They refuse to return to their heartland in despair as they fear more violence and threat to their life.
Daily Bhaskar reporters visited the relief camp organised by local residents in Kairana and Kandhala where they were shocked to learn that women, including young girls, were held captive for days.
They were allegedly gang-raped by the people belonging to the Jat community who attacked on their houses and threatened them to leave the village or face dire consequences.
A mother of three girls says, "Four women of my family, including my three daughters (age 17, 18 and 21 years), were held captive by 10-13 rioters and gang-raped in front of me. I was forced to see the shameful and brutal act."
"Two of my daughters have been released and the other two are still missing", she says.
Ther daughters were not the sole victims. Scores of other women were assaulted, raped, killed and burned to death by the barbarians who were once their neighbours.
Another sixteen-year-old was also became a victim of rape and sexual assault by the same rioters.
She said that she was held captive for about 2 hours when she was trying to flee the village after rumour spread that they were about to be attacked by people belonging to other community.
The assaulters abducted her and raped her as she was fleeing her home. The attackers fled the spot when security forces arrived.
Asked if she could recall the name or face of anyone of the attackers, the girl says that one of the attackers was Rajendra, son of Hari Kishan- main leader of Khap Panchayat of the Jat community.
She even remembers the horrific words uttered by the assaulters, “Soni soni ladkiyon ke sindur bhar denge, aur bakiyon ko kaat denge (we will marry the beautiful ones and cut into pieces the others).”
Another 25-year old victim of sexual assault, from Lisarh village, claimed that she was gang-raped by 5-7 men on the night of September 8- the day after a Khap Mahapanchayat was held at Nagla Mandaur on September 7.
She identifies two of her assaulters as Subhash, son of Ilamnd and Ankit, son of Daria.
She alleges that the head of her village, Ajit was behind the entire tragedy. He ensured them security and asked them not to leave the village. But as the night descended, he asked his men to attack them.
Helpless and tormented they ran to police for protection. "Police thane wale ne kaha ki hum to apne ki sahayta karenge, tum Musalmano ki nahi (We will only save and help our people (Jat and Hindus), not you Muslims)," she revealed.
Surprisingly, Shamli District DIG (law and order) Raghubir Lal told Daily Bhaskar that they are running short of policemen. “We don’t have sufficient number of officers and constables to tackle a clash of this nature,” he said.
The DIG's comment raised further questions over the security preparedness of the state to handle volatile situations.
The story is same for over 1.25 lakh victims lodged in various relief camps in different district of Western Uttar Pradesh.
The anger against the state administration to control the riots and sheer negligence of the government has left the victims seething with anger.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was shown black flags when he visited the riot-affected villages of Kawal and relief camp in Kandhla on Sunday.
The angry people shouted against the UP chief minister and complained that Uttar Pradesh is on the verge of being permanently divided on communal lines, if stern action is not taken against the men who incited the carnage.