Farmers’ protest unites Muslims, Jats, Gurjar in West UP

Maha Panchayat
Farmers Maha Panchayat Naresh Tikait

Muzaffarnagar, Feb 12 : The communal divide that was created in the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, is now filling up with the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Muslims, along with Jats and Gurjars, are slowly wiping off differences and joining hands for the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

“The communal differences are now history. Farming is our profession and the problems we are facing, do not differentiate between communities. If we want a solution, we will have to remain united and sweep aside other differences,” said Iqbal, who lost his brother in the 2013 riots.

“Apart from my brother, the family lost its house which was burnt down and also our savings. We have built back our lives in the past eight years but the situation, at present, demands that we look together towards the future. What happened in 2013 is in the past,” he told IANS.

Muslims, according to sources, have been increasingly participating in the Kisan Panchayats being held across western Uttar Pradesh.

Mehru Zaman, a local lawyer, said, “Both communities have always shaped the politics of western UP. Together, we can solve our problems and create a vast vote base.”

In 2013, Muslim members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), led by founding member Ghulam Mohammad Jola, had walked out of the outfit after the Tikait brothers were booked for inciting communal violence.

Recently at a Kisan Mahapanchayat, Jola shared the stage with Naresh Tikait and embraced him. This was a day after Rakesh Tikait emotional outburst made it it to national headlines.

“Eight years have passed. Both Jats and Muslims have seen the losses that came with drifting apart, both politically and structurally. Now, we are together. The Muzaffarnagar Mahapanchayat was the beginning. I am hopeful that this camaraderie will endure and help build bridges among people,” Jola said.

Sanjay Baliyan, a farmer, said, “It may seem an uneasy truce but it now one that is firm and strong. It is a good start. The matter is farmers’ welfare, irrespective of faith.”

Haseeb Siddiqui, a veteran journalist and a political analyst, said, “This coming together of Jat, Gurjars and Muslims, will ultimately lead to a realignment of political forces, especially in western UP and any political party that supports their cause now will also get their support in the next assembly elections in the state.

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