MUZAFFARNAGAR(PTI): Prohibitory orders have been enforced across Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh and borders of Kairana sealed even as BJP MLA Sangeet Som on Saturday suspended his march to the town that is caught in a migration row and gave a 15-day ultimatum to State government to bring back those who had allegedly migrated.
Mr. Som started his rally to Kairana from his house in Sardhana with thousands of followers, but was stopped at the border of the town keeping in mind the situation, Meerut District Collector Pankaj Yadav said.
A rally by Samawadi Party (SP), led by party leader Atul Pradhan, was also stopped some distance from Sardhana town limits, he said.
“As a precautionary measure, the police and the PAC have been stationed in heavy numbers. Section 144 is in force. No one will be allowed to break the law in this situation,” Mr. Yadav said.
Shamli District Magistrate Sujit Kumar said prohibitory orders have been enforced across the district, including Kairana town, and any march or yatra with political leaders would not be allowed without permission.
Mr. Som said he postponed his ‘Nirbhay’ rally after prohibitory orders were enforced.
“We’ve given a 15 days ultimatum. Either the government gets back the people who’ve migrated, or we’ll have to take to the streets,” he said.
“If in 15 days they do not return, we’re warning that no one will be able to stop BJP workers from going to Kairana or to any other place. We’ll follow the law. The senior authorities gave us notice that section 144 of the CrPC was imposed so we’ve postponed the rally,” he said.
“U.P. BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya called up and said that wherever the authorities stop you, you have to abide by the law,” Mr. Som said while appealing to people to follow the law.
Mr. Pradhan said Mr. Som is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and it was to counter his “malicious” efforts that they attempted to hold a ‘Sadbhavna’ rally.
BJP MP Hukum Singh had released a list of 346 families that were allegedly forced to flee the town, which has 85 per cent Muslim population. Kairana witnessed communal riots in 2013.
The BJP MP later made a u-turn, saying the “migration” of Hindus from Kairana was “not communal” in nature, but was more to do with the law and order situation. He claimed that the number of families that had to flee can go up to 400-500.
A delegation of leaders of five parties that visited the town on Thursday, hit out at the BJP for giving a “communal” angle to the issue. The BJP took a swipe at the JD(U) and the RJD, which were part of the group, for “vitiating” the atmosphere after “failing” to run Bihar.
However, JD(U) MP and spokesperson K.C. Tyagi, who along with D. Raja of the CPI and Mohammad Salim of the CPI(M), D.P. Tripathi of the NCP and the RJD’s Manoj Jha went to the western Uttar Pradesh town, said the area was hit by poor law and order, forcing many families to leave over the years.
“The BJP has given it a communal colour for political reasons. It is condemnable. Thanks to media probe, it was forced to backtrack. Poor law and order is a problem there, as is the case in many parts of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma, however, insisted that the party had from day one called it a law and order problem and not linked the migration to any religion.