NEW DELHI: BJP MP Hukam Singh who had created a stir after alleging that exodus by Hindu families from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, claimed that the number of such families can be in the range of 400-500 as more cases were coming to light.
Singh released another list of 63 families in neighbouring areas of Kairana added that migration was due to law and order. "The list (of those who had to flee) will go on further, I believe. It can go up to 400-500. There is not one accused (who forced people to migrate), they are here in dozens," Singh said, adding that from the names of accused, "one can grasp who are these people".
Singh had earlier alleged that 346 families had been forced to flee the town, which has 85 per cent Muslim population. Kairana is in Shamli district which witnessed communal riots in 2013.
BJP MP and spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said state was facing problem of lawlessness as rangdari (extortion) was prevalent there. “Families were forced to pay up. You look at who are involved in these activities,” Lekhi said.
BJP had even deputed a nine member team to investigate the issue.
After initially playing up the incident, there was some nuancing of BJP position as it don’t harp so much on the religious identity of the migrants, as it became clear that many of those who had migrated over the years.
Uttar Pradesh officials maintained that migration was due to economic reasons. Shamli District Magistrate Sujeet Kumar said some people left the town not because of "communal activity" but for "economic reasons".
"Till now we have investigated the list of 119 families. Around 10-15 families, mentioned in the list, still live in Kairana and around 68 families have migrated from the area 10-15 years ago. They moved out because of economic reasons. Till now, we have not found any case where there has been a law and order problem.
"There is no communal activity, the Karaina town has always been peaceful... During Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, the area remained peaceful, and even during Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, people here sent a strong message of brotherhood," Kumar said.
Leaders, who were in Allahabad for the two-day national executive meeting, raked up the issue of alleged migration of Hindus from Kairana to attack the Samajwadi Party government in the state ahead of the Assembly election to be held early next year.
BJP president Amit Shah, in his speech at Allahabad on Monday had said people of UP should vote for his party if they did not want more kairanas in the state.