After Kairana, migration row hits Meerut

Lucknow, June 27 : A complaint lodged on the NaMo app claiming that 125 Hindu families had migrated from Prahlad Nagar in Meerut because of harassment of women by Muslims in the area, has led to a major controversy.

The controversy is similar to the one that had hit Kairana in 2016.

The complaint was sent on the app by a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhavesh Mehta on June 11 and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on the same day, forwarded the complaint to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). The CMO has sought a report on the matter.

According to the complainant, Prahlad Nagar, that comes under the Lisadi Gate police circle, is a Muslim-dominated locality. The area has about 425 Hindu families, of which 125 have migrated to ‘safer’ localities after selling their property.

Some houses in the area still display the ‘for sale’ notice.

A senior police officer, however, denied that there was any truth in the complaint and said that the migration had taken place over the last five-six years.

“When people start earning more, they prefer to move to bigger houses. There has been no panic in the area and complaints of harassment of women have been dealt with strictly,” the official in the rank of an ASP said.

He alleged that a television channel had stoked the controversy. “You people sensationalize minor incidents and increase the communal divide,” he said.

The women in Prahlad Nagar, however, admit that eve-teasing and harassment of females was a “routine” matter in the area.

“We avoid moving out unless we are accompanied by a male member. We complain to the police but they invariably hush up the case. We hope that the government takes some action and makes life bearable for us,” said a woman resident of the area.

Local BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal, however, said that the situation was “serious” and he would speak to the Chief Minister in this regard. “There is no reason for Hindu families to be afraid because in the BJP regime, no one will be allowed to harass our sisters,” he added.

The police on Thursday set up barricades at the entry and exit points of the area and officers also visited Prahlad Nagar.

The Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh has also written a letter to the Chief Minister, seeking security for Hindus in Meerut.

The Chief Minister has directed senior police and civil officials to mobilise the local intelligence units and deal firmly with complaints in this regard.

In June 2016, the then BJP MP Hukum Singh has raised the issue of migration of Hindu families in Kairana. He had stated that 346 families had migrated due to “pressures” from the Muslim community. Later, however, he said that the migration was not due to “communal reasons”.

Meanwhile speaking to IANS, Additional Director General of Police(ADGP) of Meerut Zone, Prashant Kumar said he along with senior police and civil officials visited the spot on Thursday. “There has been migration, but it is not due to fear. However there is eveteasing, traffic related and pollution problem in the area. Police pickets have been established and CCTV cameras are being installed to monitor the activities in the area. We are also conducting a thorough probe to find out the actual reason of migration,” Prashant Kumar said.

The Meerut police will also speak with former residents who migrated from Prahlad Nagar and settled in other places. The police are also gathering information from those who have had criminal cases filed against them.

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