Communal harmony amidst Kasganj riots: How Haji Akram survived
Aligarh: If you thought that humanity is dead in the country, it is not dead as yet. This was experienced first hand by a Lakhimpur, UP, based businessman Haji Akram Siddiqi.
While he was on his way to Aligarh from Lakhimpur, to visit his wife who was set to deliver a baby, completely oblivious to what was happening in Kasganj that lies between Aligarh and Lakhimpur. On 26th January, the communal riots had destroyed the peace and tranquility of the area.
One person was killed in the mindless violence that rocked the twon on the occasion of the Republic Day. The vibrant city had been turned into a ghost town in the matter of merely hours, with shops and homes smoldering and humanity threatened by the raucous slogans of the rioters on both the sides.
As he came close to the town, his car was stopped by the mob that had assembled in the area. As soon as the rioters saw a bearded Haji in the driver seat, they swooped down upon him, hitting him with lathis one after the other.
He had given up hope of escaping from the place alive, when a few people in the mob intervened, brought others to the senses and forced the rioters to let Haji Akram Siddiqi leave. To top it all, his car was also returned to him unharmed. Despite being injured and his eye needing operation, he went to the police station and the police took him to the safety. Police also got him admitted in a private hospital, making it possible for him to survive a riot that he didn’t expect to survive.
This is unlike a common narrative and shows that humanity is not just alive, but it is thriving in the country. The common perception among the Muslims is that it doesn’t protect them. But Haji Akram says police not just protected him, ensured he got the medical assistance, but safely took him to Aligarh too.
Haji Akram’s one eye has been operated upon and there are chances that he may lose his eyesight. Nonetheless he is least worried for his eye.
“We are first human beings than Hindus or Muslim. I have no sorrow over the loss of one of my eyes. I am more concerned about my Hindu brother who lost life in the violence in Kasganj. Hate mongers took the life of an innocent person. I am thankful to the people who left me alive, returned my vehicle and allowed me to aproach the police. I can understand how the family members of the person who lost his life must be feeling his loss. This should not happen to anyone”, says Haji Akram.
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In the meantime, a young man of 24-years who was said to have lost his life in the mindless violence in Kasganj said come forward and told the police and the media that he is alive. 24-year old Rahul Upadhyay met with media and police officials in Kotwali Police station at Kasganj. He tells all the media persons, “I assure you, I am alive.” Social media was rife with reports of his “death”. The “news” picked up and was carried in a number of newspapers. The 24-year-old media graduate from Noida, who now runs a small news outlet received a phone call on Saturday, asking him if was dead. “At first, I was surprised and thought someone was joking. Then I received another call and then another. That is when I realised something was wrong.”