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In communally divided Dadri, no one talks of development

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Dadri Lynching-wefronews-min

Bisadah (Uttar Pradesh), Feb 10 

In the area where a Hindu mob murdered Mohammad Akhlaq after accusing him of eating beef, the election fever of Uttar Pradesh is laced with old tensions.

The few Muslim families here are unwilling to speak — unlike almost everyone else in the state — on their preferences in the staggered state polls starting on Saturday.

Posters and flags of political parties do flutter atop houses and shops at Dadri. But old issues are at play.

Predictably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has raked up cow slaughter, fully knowing that the issue could polarise Hindus and Muslims.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a rally here to canvass for BJP’s Tejpal Singh Nagar in the Dadri constituency. Dadri, about 50 km from Delhi, will vote in the first phase of assembly polls on Saturday.

In the Rajput-dominated village, slogans are raised to hail Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One can hardly spot a flag of any other party in the village. Even the walls are painted with BJP slogans.

A huge poster of BJP President Amit Shah and Modi promises to shut down slaughter homes across Uttar Pradesh if the BJP is elected to power in the country’s most populous state.

Pratap Singh Sisodia, in his late 60s, told IANS: “Cow slaughter is going to be a major issue in this election.”

Not surprisingly, the more pressing issues of poor electricity supply, law and order situation and lack of schools have taken a backstage.

Even after 16 months of Akhlaq’s lynching, communal hostility is visible.

Akhlaq, 50, was at his home when a mob barged in, took out meat from his fridge, alleged it was beef which his family was consuming and carried out a murderous attack.

The local Hindus accused the police of wrongly arresting 18 men from their village under pressure from the Akhilesh Yadav government to “appease” Muslims.

Others say that it was only Akhlaq’s family which was compensated by the state government.

Ravi Kumar, 21, one of those arrested after Akhlaq’s murder, died on November 4 in mysterious circumstances while in judicial custody.

A family member told IANS: “You see the pain of Akhlaq’s mother, but you can’t see the pain of Ravi’s mother? We didn’t even get Ravi’s autopsy report.”

Bisadah village is home to some 10,000 people, of whom 70 per cent are from the Rajput community. Muslims account for 15 per cent. The rest are lower castes.

“Rahul Gandhi and (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal visited the village after Akhlaq’s death but they never visited Ravi’s family,” Tikam Singh, another villager, told IANS.

Another woman, Leelavati Devi, has two sons — Hariom Singh and Shriom Singh — still lodged in jail for the 2015 murder. People from the village provide food to the family.

Villager Rajesh Singh added: “Rajnath Singh’s rally is a sign we are not going to vote for the Congress or Samajwadi Party.”

In most Muslim homes, people are tight-lipped. To avoid talking, many even claimed they were merely visiting the village.

Mohammad Iliyas Khan said: “Everything has changed here after Akhlaq’s death. Earlier there used to be harmony in the village. Now that peace has gone.”

(IANS)

By Anand Singh  

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

Politics

Rahul Gandhi begins Kerala visit, meets Cong and IUML leaders

With Assembly elections around the bend, various political parties are doing their homework to finalise seat-sharing with coalition partners. Rahul Gandhi has been insisting on the promotion of new faces and women leaders in the elections to the 140-member Assembly.

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday landed at the Kozhikode airport to begin his two-day visit to Kerala, and held closed-door meetings with Congress and IUML leaders.

These included former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala, M Ramachandran, and Indian Union Muslim League leaders PK Kunhalikutty and KPA Majeed.

With Assembly elections around the bend, various political parties are doing their home work to finalise seat-sharing with coalition partners.

Rahul Gandhi has been insisting on the promotion of new faces and women leaders in the elections to the 140-member Assembly. The state Youth Congress leadership has already submitted a list of probable candidates from among its leaders and openly demanded that they be given a fair proportion of tickets.

Rahul Gandhi, a member of Parliament from Wayanad, will participate in a few functions regarding his MP Local Area Development Schemes in the constituency during his visit.

The former AICC President has been discussing with Muslim League leaders the seat-sharing within the United Democratic Front.

KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran told IANS: “Rahul Gandhi has met with IUML leaders as this party is a major constituent of the UDF coalition. The Congress-IUML relations are very cordial. As far as seat-sharing is concerned, we are yet to mull the finer details and are holding broader discussions only at present.”

The Congress has already inducted former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor into the Manifesto Committee, sending out a clear message that he will have a major say in the UDF campaign and even during government formation in case the UDF returns to power.

Both Rahul and his sister Priyanka Gandhi will remain in the coastal state during the entire campaigning period since, Congress sources said, they will be major trump cards for the party.

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Politics

Relationship with Amethi not political: Priyanka Gandhi

She also said that the Congress supports and stands with the farmers and the weaker sections of the society.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Lucknow, Jan 27 : Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday addressed members of the nyay Panchayat in Amethi’s Jamoh and underlined the need for strengthening the party organisation.

Addressing the meeting virtually, Priyanka said that for her the relationship with Amethi was not political but was that of a family.

She said the farm laws were detrimental to the interests of not only the farmers but the whole country.

She also said that the Congress supports and stands with the farmers and the weaker sections of the society.

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Cities

VK Sasikala released from prison after serving 4-year jail-term

The release of 64-year-old close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa comes months ahead of assembly elections

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Sasikala

Expelled AIADMK leader VK Sasikala and a close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was released on January 27 after serving four years in a Bengaluru jail in a corruption case.

Sasikala, 64, will, however, remain in Victoria Hospital, where she is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 infection. The procedures for her release from jail were completed at the hospital.

She has been lodged in the Central Jail in Parappana Agrahara for four years since February 2017 in connection with the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.

A huge crowd of Sasikala supporters lined up outside the Victoria Hospital, raising slogans in her favour and distributed sweets in celebration.

The release comes months ahead of Tamil Nadu assembly elections and on a day when chief minister K Palaniswami inaugurated a Rs 79 crore memorial along Chennai’s Marina beach in the name of Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala will be out of the hospital later this week, but what remains to be seen is what is next for her in the poll-bound state. A lot has changed in AIADMK while she was serving the jail term. Rebel leader O Paneerselvam, who she had ousted from the CM post before going to the jail, is back in the party. The CM she handpicked, K Palaniswami has joined hands with the Paneerselvam.

Many say though she commanded respect for three decades she will not return to politics. CM Palaniswami said recently that she won’t be back in the party. Others said AIADMK will ally with AMMK, the party founded by Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran.

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