People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 41

October 13, 2013







Rioting in Name of Honour in ‘Honour’ Killings Land


ON October 5, a delegation of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) visited some of the camps set up for the riot affected people in Muzaffar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. The delegation, which comprised Sehba Farooqui (general secretary of the AIDWA’s Delhi state unit), Madhu Garg (president of its UP state unit), Seema Rana (secretary of the Lucknow unit), Asha Sharma (working president of Delhi unit), Anjana Jha (treasurer of the Delhi unit) and Maimoona Mollah (vice president of Delhi unit), met a large number of violence affected women in the camps.


The delegation first went to Jogiakhera, a village in tehsil Budhana. Most of the affected people here are from village Fugana, one of the worst affected villages. Fugana village in this tehsil has a population of somewhere between 20 and 25 thousand. Muslim population here is about 3,500. The attack took place on September 8 morning. There are five reported cases of rape (all gang rape) from this area – all of Muslim women.


The delegation then went to another village, Loyi, where there is a camp housing about 3,700 people from many villages --- Hisad, Lakh, Bahavdi, Kharad, Fugana, Hasanpur, etc. About 80 percent of the people in this camp are from Fugana.


The delegation also heard the background in which the incidents took place. This confirmed many of the details that have already been reported in the media. The AIDWA report mainly focusses on the riot’s impact on women in the violence affected areas.




Muzaffar Nagar has often been in the news for wrong reasons, primarily because of its dismal record with regard to women's status. Sex ratio is an abysmal 889 females per 1000 males. Child sex ratio is even more pathetic: 863/1000. Female literacy is only 58.69 as against the average literacy rate of 69.12 percent. Most of the girls are not able to pursue their studies beyond matriculation; only the fortunate ones are able to go to a college.


Muzaffar Nagar is an area where women have been targets of sexual harassment --- some reported but most of these going unreported. Girls of both communities suffer sexual harassment and the perpetrators of the crime are also from both communities. Nor is it that the perpetrator and the victim necessarily belong to different communities. But this reality was deliberately covered up in the recent build-up to the violence.


Muzaffar Nagar district also has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of ‘honour’ killings in UP --- an average of one to two killings a month. The khap panchayats have especially been active in cases of ‘honour’ killing and women of both communities have been targets of violence in different ways.


Some of the recently affected villages, Fugana for example which is the centre of communal killing and rape, have witnessed such honour killings in the past. It was in this very village, where rapes of Muslim women during this communal carnage occurred, that had seen the stripping and killing of a young Hindu girl by her community in 2006, a victim of ‘honour’ killing. The point here is that the deeply patriarchal and anti-women concept of so-called honour has made women of both communities its victims.


Today, young girls of both communities are greatly affected – they fear even going to school or college.


It is a measure of the criminal and cynical planning of communal forces that they deliberately chose an issue of so-called honour in an area known for ‘honour’ killings to incite communal hatred and organised a communal carnage in the name of bahu-beti bachao (Save Our Daughters & Daughters-in-Law), ostensibly to curb sexual harassment in the area. One incident was given a communal colour by the BJP and RSS which are actively working in the area to polarise people on communal lines. The result was the worst incident of communal violence the area has ever seen, in which it was the Muslim minority community which suffered the worst violence and many Muslim women were sexually assaulted.




Regarding the cases of sexual assault, there were five cases of rape reported to the delegation. In four cases, FIRs have been registered but no statements have been recorded under section 164 which is mandatory for the filing of a chargesheet. In two of these, cases no MLC was done. So far not a single person has been arrested, even though these are named reports.


The delegation was told that there have been many more cases of sexual assault and molestation but women and especially young girls who were the victims are too shocked to speak.


The delegation met almost all the victims who have registered cases of rape.


All the names have been changed in the following cases of sexual assault.


1) Saba w/o Saleem: Saba’s husband is a hawker who sells cloth. On September 8 morning, the attackers (Badlu, Nilu and Amardip) came with knives and held Saba. All three of them raped her and killed one of her brothers-in-law with a knife. Then, while they went to bring petrol to burn the house, Saba and family escaped and came to Jogiakhera.


2) Sameena:  At around 10 am Rupesh, Ramvir and Bhim came, raped her and burnt her house. The assaulters threw out her two years old daughter who was injured in the process.


3) Qudsia: At around 2 pm, five boys, all her neighbours came --- Sunil (s/o Sadhu), Devender (s/o Harpal), and Ramesh (s/o Virma), Ramkumar (s/o Patvari) and Joginder (s/o Pradhan).  Ramesh tore her clothes, while Sunil, Devinder and Ramkumar raped her.  Qudsia tried to run but they pulled her back. When she resisted, they banged her head against the wall which incapacitated Qudsia. At around 4 p m, the force came, rescued her and brought her to Loyi village.


4) Farida w/o Salman: Farida was making rotis when they came at 2 p m. When she tried to run, they pulled her back by her plait. Farida then hid in the pen, but the attackers saw it and almost throttled her. They were five boys – Sachin, Vedpal, Shani, Ajit and Yogesh. Sachin and Vedpal broke her shalwar strap and raped her. Before the others could come forward, Farida ran towards the jungle and came to the madrasa in village Loyi.


5) Salma w/o Nasir from Fugana: Six people raped her. She is currently recuperating in the hospital.


6) Sabeena from Fugana: Sabeena narrated the plight of her family. When the rioters came they were shocked as they had no inkling of an impending attack. She said that she and both her daughters aged 16 and 22 were molested and told to stay back, but Sabeena’s family did not stop. The attackers burnt the house; Sabeena and family ran and reached Jogiakhera through the jungle route. Saleema from Khera Mastan said though they were not attacked, but they ran out of fear.


The rape survivors we met told the delegation that they recognised and identified the rapists, knew their names and had courageously registered FIRs against them. Yet none have been arrested, mocking their trauma and pain.


There have been many cases of parents losing their grip on the children who were running with them. The children have since gone missing and so far there are no efforts by the administration to trace them:


Mohammad Altaf is a hawker; he sells cloth. While he was running after the riots broke out, he lost his grip on his five years old daughter who fell down and is now missing.


Naeem’s five month old child Rehana was in his arms, but fell down while she was running. The child is missing.




The victims are now scared to go home. The added trauma for women is that their assaulters were people from their own village. There is thus a feeling of terror and insecurity which is preventing them from going back to their village homes.


Unable to go back home, the families living in camps are now homeless. Those who are not in the camps and are living with other families as in Jogiakhera, there is added trauma of adjusting with other families while waiting for rehabilitation.


Considering the fact that the riot affected people are in deep trauma, there are no counselling centres for them.


The victims, including pregnant women and victims of sexual assault, are having to go to Shamli district hospital for treatment.


Living in open tents for long has its own health hazards and towards that the administration has so far paid no attention.


Most of the camps have been set up and managed and taken care of by concerned citizens. UP government ought to step in and provide relief.


The insecurity continues. There is palpable tension in the area and there seems to be no effort from the administration towards easing of tension.


We got a feedback from camp managers that they would require tarpaulin to cover the tents. The AIDWA has provided tarpaulin for about 65 such tents.


The attacks were pre-planned. The BJP and RSS captured the mahapanchayat, made communal speeches, and orchestrated communal conflagration. Most of the attacks are reported to have started in the morning on the same day --- September 8.


The people attacked are poor and backward caste Muslims --- sheikh, badhai, lohaar, dhobi, julaaha, nilgarh (rangrez), qureshi, teli, etc. The ‘upper caste’ Muslims like Mula Jats, Rajputs and Tyagis were not the main targets. The victims were working in the fields or enterprises of the attackers. This was probably one way, as it were, of showing the workers their place --- to keep them subdued.


Only in one area, Joli, there were casualties from both communities. In the rest of the places, it was one-sided --- Muslims were attacked.


The administration was unresponsive. There was failure or inordinate delay in action, which caused both human and material casualties.  It was also reported to the delegation that whoever among the police officers worked impartially to uphold the rule of law, was transferred.


Though some of the BJP leaders including their MLAs have been arrested, many of the rioters are still roaming free, adding to the fear psychosis of the victims. Those who killed Gaurav and his brother also have not been arrested so far.





The AIDWA delegation has demanded the following measures:


1) Expedite all cases of rape, murder and arson.


2) Arrest all those guilty of communal attacks and violence.


3) Take urgent action in all the rape cases. Arrest all those named by the victims. Record victims’ statements under Section 164.


4) Arrest the killers of Gaurav and his brother.


5) Send a team of women counsellors from trained agencies and representatives of women’s organisations to the camps and affected areas to meet the victims. They can bring the victims out of the trauma they are in. The counsellors would also be able to instil confidence in the women to speak up about the violence meted out to them during the riots.


6) There still is palpable tension in the area. To ease the atmosphere the UP government should initiate concrete confidence building measures immediately.


7) People are scared to go back to their homes. The government must therefore help create a conducive environment for people to return.


8) UP government should step up relief measures and continue them until the affected people are rehabilitated.


9) UP government must chalk out a rehabilitation plan for the victims of the communal violence and implement it immediately. Since most of those attacked are poor Muslims, there is an urgency to provide them the means of livelihood.


10) The UP government should reinstate those officers who were abruptly transferred because of their impartial approach.


The AIDWA delegation plans to meet the chief minister of UP in order to follow up on the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of violence and the progress in the cases of sexual assault.


Azra's Case


AZRA Khatoon is a nine years old girl from Baori village in Shamli district adjoining Muzaffar Nagar. Her family comprises seven sisters and three brothers. Azra’s family was among those attacked during the September 8 riots in Muzaffar Nagar and adjoining Shamli. Her seven years old cousin sister, paternal grandmother, and uncle (father’s brother) were killed in the riot. Her mother and five years old sister were injured after they were shot at. They were being treated at Shamli government hospital and later at Muzaffar Nagar district hospital. Azra suffered a deep cut on her stomach and more grievous and damaging injury on her right hand after she was slashed by a sickle. 


Accompanied by her father and maternal grandmother, she is currently being treated at the Trauma Centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, after being referred from the Muzaffar Nagar district hospital.


Luckily, there was no organ damage and her wound on the stomach is healing. But doctors are worried that she may not be able to move her right hand (wrist onwards) ever again. 


The AIIMS Trauma Centre has promised to bear the cost of her treatment at the hospital. The Uttar Pradesh government, too, has come forward to help Azra’s family.


Little Azra is currently in a lot of pain and unable to speak much but has expressed the desire to study further. 


The Delhi unit of AIDWA is assisting in the coordination of her current treatment and further rehabilitation. In Baori, Azra was studying in Class IV at the local government school. The family has lost their entire belongings and will urgently require financial assistance, particularly for her care.