CPI(ML)’s Intervention Against Communal Tension, Loot and Arson in Ballia

The minority community in Sikandarpur and Rahsarh (Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh) had asked for security during the festive season of Diwali and Muharram but the SP advised them to take care of their own security citing shortage of police security forces; this despite the fact that the area has been in the grip of communal tension for the past one year. On 17 September a petty dispute arose between two children from different communities near the old post office and close to where the RSS shakha is held. Hindu boys cracked the head of a Muslim barber who tried to intervene, and rumours were floated that Muslims were molesting Hindu girls who had come to the Mela. Soon goons from the RSS hub pounced towards the Muslim mohalla and started attacking them with bricks and stones. The police personnel present also joined the attackers and started throwing bricks and stones. A video of this scene went viral. A Muslim boy took up his sword in self-defence, causing slight injuries on the hand and neck of another boy. Once again rumours were spread that dozens of Hindus had been killed. The media was at the forefront of spreading these rumours. Top police officials arrived at the scene and imposed curfew on the Muslim mohalla which lasted only for two hours. In these 2 hours the local BJP MLA Sanjiv Yadav and Panchayat President Representative Jaiswal led a frenzied crowd in a calculated attack, burning dozens of Muslim shops and looting goods worth crores. The administration, instead of protecting the victims, sided with the attackers. The Muslims were forced to leave their homes and flee, and the next day more shops were looted on during the Durga immersion.

The next day the CPI(ML) held a dharna and submitted a memo to the Governor demanding a judicial enquiry. On 12 October over 500 CPI(ML) activists organized a march for their demand of a judicial enquiry into the incident. The police stopped the march at the Sikandarpur crossroads where it culminated in a meeting. Party leaders addressing the meeting said that there is no issue between the Hindus and Muslims of the area; it is the RSS and BJP goons who are perpetrating violence and arson in the presence of officials and police who should prevent such incidents. A 4-point memorandum was submitted to the Governor with the following demands: a judicial enquiry into the entire Sikandarpur incident; action against the guilty; compensation to the victim shopkeepers; registration of their cases; suspension of the guilty SP and DM and guarantee of safety and security for the minority community.

Earlier, an enquiry team led by AIARLA UP President Com. Shriram Choudhury and District Secretary Com. Lal Saheb visited Sikandarpur to find out the facts of the incident.

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