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In Lieu of Courting Justice

How Muzaffarnagar is trying to heal the wounds of the 2013 riots and move on

In Lieu of Courting Justice
Site of convergence | Photograph by Jitender Gupta
In Lieu of Courting Justice
outlookindia.com
2021-09-07T12:03:23+05:30

There can be justice in letting go. It is apt, if ambitious, to remember this tenet of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission even as two groups try, in a small corner of India, to put their own differences aside. The scale of trauma doesn't match, of course, but there are a few commonalities. One, a society divided into a dominant group, and those whom it dominates: a clear delineation of perpetrator and victim. Two, a deep history of prejudice. And three, yes, violence...physical, symbolic, traumatic. In 2013, 60 people, 40 of them Muslim, were killed and over 40,000 Muslims disp­laced in Muzaffarnagar and Sha­mli districts in western Uttar Pradesh. Now, there are attempts to promote conciliatory talks between Muslims and the dominant Jat community to bury the grief and rage, so people can live peacefully in the troubled region.

Untested so far, the idea of such talks—supposedly aimed at striking a “peace deal” of sorts—has also invited controversy. The effort hinges on survivors on both sides retracting riot-related...

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