After claiming that 346 Hindu families were forced to flee from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh because of violence from Muslim gangs, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Hukum Singh took a dramatic U-turn. Singh, an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, has now taken a slightly different position on the issue – he said the migrations were not communal in nature, but rather a result of law and order problems. While Singh did not clarify what prompted the change of stance, it may have something to do with the fact that multiple media outlets found glaring holes in his list.
Singh’s U-turn, however, leaves the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s (RSS) mouthpiece Organiser in a bit of a pickle. Determined to take Singh’s original narrative forward, Organiser has carried it as the cover story in the June 19, 2016 edition, under the weighty title “The Untold Stories of Kairana: A Silent Exodus ”. Bemoaning that the land of Karna has “turned into place of criminals, land grabbers and rapists”, the story quotes Singh saying the situation in Kairana resembles “that of pundits in Kashmir who were terrorised and forced to flee Kashmir”. Now that Singh has distanced himself from the communal angle and his lists have been deemed dubious, the folks at Organiser must be wondering if they should’ve verified the list before going to print.
But the story doesn’t just rest on Singh’s claims; there’s also profound social commentary involved. The piece links the alleged exodus of Hindus to a “demographic offensive”, a classy way of saying that there are just too many Muslims in north-western UP. And to back it up there is a graph showing “Per cent share of Muslims in the West UP pocket” go up from 32 per cent in 1941 to 40 per cent in 2011. While the Organiser hasn’t cited the source of the data, a little digging led us to this post by the Centre for Policy Studies, a social science research institution, which uses the same graph to indicate the increasing population of Muslims in Western UP.
The story also carries testimonies from numerous residents or ex-residents of Kairana, who claim to have been victims of crimes perpetrated by Muslim criminals. Notably, Organiser doesn’t mention even one instance of crimes against Muslims by Muslims, something that is bound to happen in a town where there are apparently too many of them.