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‘Politicians Used My Son’s Death to Spark Muzaffarnagar Riots’

“It wasn’t a communal fight. It was turned into one,” says the father of Gaurav, whose killing sparked the riots. 

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam, Mohd Irshad Alam

(This story was first published on 29 August 2018. It is being reposted from The Quint's archives to commemorate six years to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.)

No, this wasn’t a communal fight. It was later turned into one. The politicians gave a communal colour to the fight.

These words were said by an emotionally charged Ravindra, who lost his son Gaurav in Muzaffarnagar riots. These riots happened 5 years ago but their wounds are still fresh.

Ravindra is distraught because of his son’s death. He is also saddened by the fact that politicians used his son’s death for political mileage. On 27 August 2013, the first incident that triggered the Muzaffarnagar riots took place in Kawal village. An altercation between Sachin, Gaurav and Shahnawaz was turned into a riot.

Five years later, The Quint reached ground zero to know what had happened.


What Is The Story of Muzaffarnagar Riots?

Shahnawaz’s uncle Haji Naseem took us to the spot where it all started. Naseem said that Shahnawaz was dragged out of his house by people and killed.

Shahnawaz was sitting in the house. He was dragged out the house and then stabbed.
Haji Naseem, Shahnawaz’s uncle
The house that claimed first casualty of Muzaffarnagar riots.
(Photo: The Quint)

The family of Sachin and Gaurav claim that Shahnawaz was a crook who would eve-tease the girls of their family.

Gaurav and Shahnawaz had an altercation over the issue of eve-teasing. Shahnawaz beat up Gaurav. After this, Gaurav took this up with Sachin. Sachin went to Shahnawaz’s place where Shahnawaz tried to stab him. But Sachin snatched away the knife and stabbed Shahnawaz. After this, the mob cornered Sachin and Gaurav and killed them.

This news spread around Muzaffarnagar like wildfire. After this, some people started painting the incident in communal colour.


Innocent Lives Were Lost

A newspaper clipping from Muzaffarnagar riot.

Three families lost their children and the incident triggered a riot in Muzaffarnagar. Families of victims on both sides are unhappy with the way the incident was treated. Gaurav’s father says:

Innocent lives should not have been lost. We thought that these leaders are concerned about us. But they are all the same. They kept on gaining political mileage out of our son’s death and many innocent people died.

(This story was originally published on Quint Hindi and was translated by Anubhav Mishra)

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