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Muzaffarnagar Riots – A Home of their Own

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Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has constructed a colony in Parsoli area, and Jamaat leaders handed over the keys of the new homes to 88 families affected by the Muzaffarnagar riots.

By Abdul Bari Masoud

Parasoli, Muzaffarnagar: Even one and half years after the Muzaffarnagar riot, hundreds of people have not been able to return to their homes that were looted and torched during the September 2013 communal violence in the Uttar Pradesh district ““ many of them still living in community-run relief camps, others at relatives’ homes. For poorer among these homeless people, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, the country’s largest socio-religious Muslim organisation, has constructed a colony in Parsoli area of the district. Jamaat leaders handed over keys of the new homes to 88 such riot victim families at an event here last month.
“We are happy to get a home here, we are thankful to the Jamaat,” says Tabassum standing outside her flat in the newly constructed Falah-e Aam Colony. Tabassum, a native of Hasanpur village in Muzaffarnagar, is with her husband and three young daughters. When asked if she is missing her village and old home, she says: “How can we remember it when we saw people being killed in front of our eyes? We will never go there.” Her husband is a daily wage labourer.
Mohammad Qasim is another beneficiary. Originally from Lisarh village, he has also got a flat here. “For the last two years, after the riot, we had been living in a make-shift relief camp. We had hoped that we will get a home from the government. We have got one from Jamaat,” says Qasim.
The riot had erupted in several villages of Muzaffarnagar and adjoining Shamli districts on 8th September 2013, after mobs of Hindu Jat community, armed with crude weapons, went on rampage after a Maha Panchayat in Kawal area following lynching of two Jat youths who had earlier killed a Muslim youth for allegedly having an affair with a Jat girl. More than 50 Muslims were killed during the riots and over 50,000, rendered homeless. The state government though gave compensation to families who lost their dear ones during the riots, it was unable to restore normalcy in all violence-hit areas, and consequently hundreds of victims have not yet been able to return to their homes.
The Jamaat-built colony has 88 houses with one bedroom, kitchen, latrine and bathroom. Giving details about the colony, Mohammad Shafi Madani, National Secretary of the Jamaat who heads its Social Service wing said: “We had bought eight bighas of land from a Hindu villager, constructed 88 houses on it for the riot affected people. Each house has cost us Rs 2.4 lakh. The colony also has a mosque, a community centre and a primary school.”
“We have built this colony for those victims who got no compensation and who have no alternative,” said Madani.The Muzaffarnagar colony was inaugurated by national president of the Jamaat Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari. Addressing the beneficiaries and villagers he said: “Whenever a natural or man-made calamity has hit any area of the country, Jamaat has rushed to help the victims irrespective of their region or religion. We do it on humanitarian grounds.”