Jat couple who fought their own to save Muslims

Muzaffarnagar, December 29
Torched houses and barren streets stare at you as you enter Fugana – one of the nine villages worst hit by the September 8 communal clashes that shook Western Uttar Pradesh and displaced more than 50,000 Muslims.

Step a little deeper into the village, you will spot a rare sight – a Muslim woman going about her daily chores. Noorjehan, 50, did not abandon her house during riots, though she knew she was the only one in the community to stay back.

Ask her what kept her from fleeing her village and she points to the house of Ved Pal Malik, former sarpanch of Fugana who had set an example of solidarity at the heights of Jat-Muslim riots in Muzaffarnagar by standing against his own men in defence of Muslim neighbours.

In this gesture, Malik was not alone. Other Jats of his cohesive locality within Fugana joined him that day to save 80 Muslims from being harmed. Malik locked them up at his house, opening the room only when the Army entered the village to rescue the trapped Muslims.

“While most of our Muslim friends decided to leave with the Army, Noorjehan stayed back,” Malik told The Tribune, his wife Vijaya by his side. The couple has, in these times of distrust, acquired a mighty reputation among the Muslims for having dared to stand against Jat wrath. But, Malik bows in humility saying: “I did my duty. I wish I could have stopped the arson. The atmosphere was so vitiated after the Jat mahapanchayat of Kawal on September 7 that there was nothing but revenge on the minds of everyone. In the madness, all reasons were lost.”

The mahapanchayat vowed to eliminate Muslims after two Jat boys were killed by members of the minority community to avenge the murder of a Muslim boy earlier.

Malik’s wife Vijaya recalled: “Never have we seen such hatred. It was a terrible sight. Life will never be the same without our Muslim friends. We pray for their return.”

Other Jats in the area joined the appeal, swearing to protect the Muslims if they decided to return. But they rejected the Muslim allegations of sexual assault of women at the hands of majority community men.

“Rape allegations are unfounded. The riot witnessed revenge attacks from both sides. Several Hindus were also killed. But, to say that women were sexually assaulted is not true, at least not in our village,” said Om Prakash, another Jat who was in the village during riots.

Admitting that politicians had exploited the hatred, the responsible among Fugana’s dominant caste, however, sought solidarity from Muslims.

“We appeal to Muslims to come back today. We can’t allow hatred to win over love,” said Master Suresh Pal, a retired school principal in Fugana who insisted that Muslims had nothing to fear.

The Jats of Fugana blamed the state government for riots, saying it did not act decisively to contain the simmering tensions. “Preventive action was missing,” said Malik whose Jat friend Than Singh, the incumbent sarpanch of Fugana, is an accused in the case.

All 2,000 Muslims except Noorjehan had fled the village on September 8 and are now staying in relief camps across Western Uttar Pradesh.


Categories: Asia, India

2 replies

  1. Jat kabhi majhabi extremist nahi hota jo bhi choudhary vp malik ne kiya wo hi real face h jatt quom ka ye riot politicians ki vote ki bhookh ke karan hua kuchh log insaniyat se bahut door nizi wafaat ke liye mulk aur awaam ko bech kar bhi kha sakte hn jo badkismati se hamaare leader ban kar mla, mp ban jate hn lekin ye kitane bhi kosis karen hindustan ke hindu muslim ko alag nahi kar sakte jab tak mulk me ved prakash jat jaise desh bhagat quom me jinda hn jai hind.muslim gair nahi hamare hi bhai hn aur kayamat tak rahenge

  2. the September 8 communal clashes were truly devastating and the muslims had to suffer for this. Feeling sad for this. Let us pray for the betterment of the whole muslim ummah

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