Another Eid Lost to Burnt Mosques & Empty Lanes in Muzaffarnagar

Eid will never be the same for the Muslim victims who were uprooted from their homes during the communal riots.

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Video Editor: Md. Ibrahim
Cameraperson: Aishwarya S Iyer

(This story was first published on 23 August 2018. It is being reposted from The Quint'sarchives to commemorate six years to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.)

This mosque in Muzaffarnagar’s Fugana village is stuck in time.

What was once green paint on the walls is now a greasy black. The intricate carvings have been damaged, the fans have been detached, and Urdu posters ripped off. Five years ago, the mosque was buzzing with Eid prayers. But today, its telling silence is a grim reminder of the riots that broke out in Muzaffarnagar.

The August-September of 2013 saw the bloodiest communal violence in decades in the Uttar Pradesh district. At least 60 people died and over 50,000 people fled to safety. For a lot of them, including 4,000 Muslims of Fugana, it meant deserting their mosques and leaving it exposed to attack.

But they say they were bereft of choices. “We were so scared of dying and being raped, we had to leave,” said many to The Quint at the colony in Loi, where Fugana Muslims have resettled.

The lanes which were full of life now look like forsaken areas never frequented. While these Muslims have adjusted to a new life at the colony, those who stood witness to the 2013 riots say Eid will never be the same again.

Sixty-year-old labourer, Deen Mohammad says, “The difference is, that was our village. But after the riots, everyone went here and there and no one lives together anymore. We are not interested in celebrating Eid anymore, it is just that it is a festival and we have to celebrate it.”

When asked if they would like to go back, they answer with a resounding ‘no’.

“The people there have insulted us and our children. What is left for us? They even burnt the mosques. They threw our kids out. The women are still scared,” says Muhammad.

Muhammad’s friend, 55-year-old labourer Mahmud breaks down as he tells The Quint, “The Eid before the danga (riots) was a lot more special to us, as the family lived together. Today our family is scattered in different places. How do we celebrate Eid? Our Eid is here. We are destroyed here.”

The Quint met Vajinder outside the mosque in Fugana village and asked:

Why do you think they are not coming back?

Don’t know. No one has troubled them here. They went on their own.

Did anyone try to call them back?

That I can’t say.

The reality is that while it might have been five years since the Muzaffarnagar riots, closure is very far for those whose lives have been uprooted. For them, the riots continue to haunt them, through their locked doors, the empty streets and the charred walls of a mosque they called home.

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