The ghost of the Muzzafarnagar riots continues to haunt this small village, Phugana. There were around 2,000 Muslim families living in this village peacefully until August 2013 changed everything. A riot that broke changed the lives of many and several Muslim families were forced to leave this village which they once called home.
It was a peaceful village once upon a time and the Muslims were in peaceful co-existence with the 18,000 Jat families in this village. Today it resembles a ghost town with many families living in colonies in nearby villages, too scared to go back to Phugana.
With the Uttar Pradesh Elections underway, the Muzzafarngar riots will play a key part in which way the Muslims vote. They are a confused lot no doubt. They had voted the Samajwadi Party no doubt, but today complain that they were not protected. It has been three long years, the state administration has been blamed of not doing enough to ensure the return of the Muslim families to their village.
A member of the local administration who did not wish to be named tells OneIndia most of the houses remain locked. No amount of coaxing and assurance has helped in bringing the displaced families back. The village looks as though the riots had taken place just yesterday, he also says.
Most of the families do want to return, but have no idea when. This is election season and they fear that there could be another riot just to polarise the votes. Most Muslims have already indicated that they would vote for the BSP this time. The SP they feel has failed them and the BJP is not an option for them. With regard to the Congress, they feel that the party cannot form a government on its own and hence the BSP is the best bet.