Cherson & Molschky: Muzaffarnagar Riots

Police in action as Congress workers protest against the Muzaffarnagar riots, burning an effigy of state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in Allahabad. (PTI Photo)

The Muzaffarnagar Riots were an eruption of violence between Muslims and Hindus in India in 2013, which resulted in at least 62 dead, many more injured and tens of thousands displaced. The series of violent riots is virtually unknown in the West — until now.

The district of Muzaffarnagar lies in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is a Hindu-majority state with a large Muslim population. The Jats (Hindus) are in majority in Muzaffarnagar followed by Muslims. The Samajwadi party rules the state, and the Chief Minister is Akhilesh Yadav (Hindu) who is a puppet of Azam Khan.

Chronology of the Riots:
Yukti and Upasana (Hindu girls) were two students from the Jansath police jurisdiction. They were regularly eve-teased by a Muslim named Shahnavaz from the village of Kawal. Shahnavaz had a history of being accused of a large number of crimes. (Eve-teasing is a euphemism used throughout South Asia for the public sexual harassment or molestation [often known as “street harassment”] of women by men.)

26 Aug. 2013– Sachin and Gaurav, brothers of the two girls went to talk to Shahnavaz about the eve-teasing, which was followed by a fight. Shahnavaz was injured. An angry mob of Muslims then killed the two brothers. The Senior Superintendant of Police (SSP) Mr. Manjul Saini and District Magistrate (DM) Surendra Saini arrived at the scene, and the culprits were arrested. Later that day, the DM and the SSP were transferred to a different district, and the suspects were released (on the orders of Akhilesh Yadav, the puppet of Azam Khan)…