The June 2016 episode of Kairana exodus in Uttar Pradesh was equated to the 1990s incident in Kashmir where scores of Hindu Pandits left the state. With Uttar Pradesh going to polls will the Kairana episode be a game changer? BJP's Hukum Singh had released a list of 350 Hindu families who had left Kairana allegedly under threat from Muslim gangs.
The issue was first brought up in June 2016, and created quite a flutter. While the district administration has denied any such exodus, the fact was that there was a problem in this small town in UP. There is criminal activity with a shade of communal colour, but the question is will it be a game changer in the UP elections?
Clear of communal tension:
This town has a population of 89,300, with an 80 per cent Muslim population. While there is harmony between communities, the problem lies in the gangs led by Mukeem Kala and Fukran.
Unlike Muzzafarnagar, Kairana has stayed clear of communal tension. This is to do with the fact that a majority of the Hindus and Muslims hail from the backward Gujjar community. The fact that the BJP's Hukum Singh has won the election from this place four times is also a sign of no communal tension. Only after Singh won the Parliament elections, a by-poll became necessary. This poll was won by former member of UP assembly Munawar Hasan who is incidentally he is only the second Muslim to win the election from this place.
An attempt has been made to set the Kairana discourse on exodus during the UP elections. However it is unlikely that Kairana would go the Muzaffarnagar route. The two communities have traditionally stayed united.
Kairana will be under focus as parties will try to dish out sentiments in a bid to polarise the votes. Singh has once again raised the issue of exodus. He says that the two gangs have created a fear in the minds of Hindus. But the UP police say that these are gang wars and extortion rackets.
The peace and tranquillity would be key during the UP elections. If there is even one incident of violence, it would set the discourse for the UP elections and it could be a game changer for one or more political parties.