Muzaffarnagar riots: 2 accused get BJP tickets

Hukum Singh and Sanjeev Baliyan, declared candidates by the party in the riot-hit areas of Kairana and Muzaffarnagar. (Express)Hukum Singh and Sanjeev Baliyan, declared candidates by BJP in the riot-hit areas of Kairana and Muzaffarnagar. (Express)

Close to seven months after riots broke out between Jats and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in which more than 60 people were killed, the BJP has given Lok Sabha tickets to two leaders who face charges linked to the violence.

Hukum Singh and Sanjeev Baliyan, declared candidates by the party in the riot-hit areas of Kairana and Muzaffarnaga respectively, were part of a mahapanchayat in September which was held despite prohibitory orders and inflamed tensions.

Opinion in Muzaffarnagar is divided over the two getting tickets, with Muslims staunchly against the move.

At the Malakpur relief camp which still houses 380 riot-hit Muslim families, several said that the move only reinforced the notion that the BJP wanted to gain from the riots.

“That party has a history of promoting communal violence for political gain. Their leaders fanned tensions between the communities in a place where we had always lived in peace.

Now by giving these two tickets, they want the Hindu vote to come to them. We will refuse to vote, but will not cast a ballot for the BJP,” said Mohammad Ashraf, who lives in the camp.

Several Jats The Indian Express spoke to, however, said it was the BJP that would gain most in the area.

“Forget about the riots, this region needs development and a strong leader. The law and order situation is not good, and there has to be a change. Even if the two leaders have been charged, the vote here is for Narendra Modi. If there is development, then there will be no communal tension,” said Ramesh Pradhan of Haraula village.

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