Watch Here: ‘Killing Fields of Muzaffarnagar’

“I feel like drinking poison because of what they [rioters] have done to me. I am ashamed to show my face to the world.”……..Rape survivor

With the help of narratives of survivors, director Gopal Menon has tried to reach the roots of 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots in a documentary film, ‘Killing Fields of Muzaffarnagar’.

Mr Menon has investigated these riots through chilling accounts of eye-witnesses and political experts who blame right-wing Hindu parties for driving a wedge in the relations of Muslims and Hindu Jats by what they call ‘politics of hatred’.

The 47-minute film, uploaded on the video sharing website, YouTube, opens with scary scenes of agitated mob armed with pistols, swords, knives and sticks at a mahapanchayat in Naglabadhod.

BJP leaders can be seen making virulent speeches from the dais as the agitated mob raise slogans against a particular community.

Recollecting her ordeal, a woman survivor says that a village chieftain assured them nothing bad would happen to them.

“On the evening of 7th, Devendra Pradhan told us not to go anywhere,” said the unnamed survivor. “At 8 o clock, in the morning, my father-in-law called him again and asked him where he was.”

According to the survivor, the Pradhan replied, “I am at my house, be prepared we are coming to kill you all.”

“In front of our eyes, in the nearby lane, they came and told us, ‘either go to your grave or go to Pakistan’.”

Another rape survivor reveals how they managed to save their lives after boys from their neighbourhood raped them.

“I covered my body with just a dupatta and hid in a heap of dry grass. We moved through sugarcane fields and slowly made our way to Shamli madrasa where we reached at 4 o clock in the night.

“We hid in bathrooms and storage rooms.  Some people banged on the door asking us to come out but we replied that we don’t have any clothes on our body. Then they provided us with bed-sheets and clothes. We put on the clothes and came out.”

Another survivor blames police for being hand in glove with the rioters.

He says: “The police didn’t go to the village. The village chief stopped them at the bus stand and told them that a Muslim wedding is taking place in the village. There is nothing wrong.”

“The police came only after the attack when the bloodshed had already happened. We screamed for help and tried calling different authorities but nobody responded to our pleas for help. The police was working hand in glove with them.”

Father of Shahnawaz, the boy after whose death riots broke out, says that the crowd, including Hindus and Muslims both, surrounded and killed the two Jat boys.

He says they were dealt as the hooligans would be in the village atmosphere. “It was only after the issue escalated that the Hindus and Muslims took separate positions. But both communities were involved in the killing of the boys,” he says.

With the help of testimonies of the victims and the people living in the area, the film established how these parties had been trying to drag the two communities, which had enjoyed a harmonious relationship for centuries, on a warpath for several months.

They say that these parties failed to politicise various events but on this occasion, they succeeded in their nefarious designs.

“A group of men belonging to these parties would harass Muslim men, identified by their beards, on various public buses. Their motive was to vitiate the atmosphere ahead of the Lok Sabha polls,” said a local villager.

“But these Muslim men wouldn’t react and there was no tension.”

However, after the killing of two Hindu boys at Kawal village, the situation changed completely. This was followed by  an all out attack on Muslim neighbourhoods. The mob was also charged as they had seen the fake video clip from an incident in Pakistan which was uploaded by a BJP leader on his social networking website, Facebook.

A reputed Indian documentary filmmaker, Mr Menon is known for making films on communal violence, state oppression and human rights issues. His film Naga Story: The Other Side of Silence was the winner of the ‘Spirit of the Himalayas’ first prize at The Netherlands Himalayas Film Festival, Amsterdam, 2004.

1 comment
  1. This is one sided movie. In this movie you have not included even a single comment from a hindu (jaat) affected by Riots.

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