70 Muslim families lock their houses, flee the UP village

BAREILLY: Fearing false implication, at least 70 Muslim families flee the Khelum village of Uttar Pradesh after police give them ‘Red Cards’ as a token of warning on suspicion that they may disrupt Kanwar Yatra.

A report published in The Indian Express states that the police handed the “red cards” warnings to over 240 Hindu and Muslim residents of the village as a “psychological message” not to create any kind of trouble has left the 70 Muslim families scared that they flee to other places.

441 locals in the area, identified by the district administration and the locals have been allegedly made to sign a bond of Rs 5 lakh so that they don’t create any disturbance.

“We have secret information that during the Kanwar yatra you might create trouble…with this red card we are informing you that if you create any trouble during the Kanwar yatra, action will be taken against you. You will be held accountable,” read the red cards delivered by police, according to the Indian Express report.

Sahid Hussain,  one of the residents who was handed a “red card” told the Indian Express. “I was not even there the last time the incident occurred… In the last fifteen days, police have conducted multiple checks in many houses and issued red cards. A fear has developed…I left my house a week back with my family to another village…Occasionally, I come back to check on my house,” he said.

Interestingly, the house of one Hasmat Khan is turned into a “control room”, who has since left the village. The route along the yatra is put under-surveillance and CCTV cameras have also been installed, the report quoted Aliganj SHO as saying.

The drastic move follows to prevent any disorder after the fallout of clashes during last year’s Kanwar yatra between the kanwariyas and Muslims and dozens from both communities injured.

The Khelum village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly has a population of 5,000 of which Muslims account for 70 percent.