A team of 24 activists, journalists, lawyers and students visited several relief camps and villages in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Ghaziabad districts of Uttar Pradesh on September 22 – 23 September, 2013. The team met hundreds of victims, scores of relief camp committee members; spoke to people in general on the dhabas and in mohallas. We spoke to policemen on the roads, at various police stations.
The team extensively video recorded the visuals and horrifying stories as narrated by the victims. The team members recorded the eyewitness heart rendering descriptions extreme violence that the victims had to face. However, the major concern of the team members was to find out what lead to this extreme, intense widespread violence. What were the methods used for creating the hatred among the communities and enlarging the already existing communal fault lines, which led to these barbaric attacks. Which community was on the receiving end of the ferocity that was unleashed. What are the long-term effects of these riots.
The twin districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli have been witnessing sporadic violence for over a month. Shamli was carved out as a separate district by the Bahujan Samaj Party regime in October 2011. Earlier in June this year, a dalit woman was allegedly gang raped by youth members of the minority community. The local people protested against police inaction. Everything was under control until earlier this month, when people from both the communities came to blows after a sanitation worker was killed in communal clash, in Shamli.
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