Marred by communal riots and scared for their safety, hundreds of migrants in Gurugram are returning to their hometowns amid the ongoing violence that broke out in Nuh, Haryana. What is said to have been triggered by a social media post by a Bajrang Dal activist, has now escalated to a clash between Hindu and Muslim communities.
At least six people, including two home guards and a cleric, have died in the clashes that erupted in Nuh during an attempt to stop a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) procession and spread to Gurugram and other parts of Haryana over the past two days. The protests have spilt over to Delhi with the Supreme Court stepping in to order increased security and safety of people.
But beyond the deaths and injuries in the Nuh violence, are families worried about how long they can stay there and survive the threats until they are forced to flee and return to their villages.
Rehmat Ali is one such auto-rickshaw driver, living in a slum in Sector 70A of Gurugram, who is thinking of going back home to West Bengal. “Some people came on motorcycles on Tuesday night, threatening us that if we do not leave, they would set fire to our slum. Police have been present here since night but my family is scared and we are leaving the city,” Ali told PTI, stating a hope to come “when the situation improves”.
Muslim migrants are particularly scared for their safety amid the communal clashes and many of them are thinking of leaving their livelihoods in the Millenium City at least for a while. According to police, several of them, living in slums in Wazirabad, Ghata village, Sector 70A and Badshahpur, are returning to their native place.
Bamisha Khatun, another native of West Bengal who also lives in the Sector 70A slum, said that she had come to Gurugram in search of work three years ago. She works as a house help in the city.
"I fear for my life and property, and have decided to leave for my hometown," Khatun tells the agency.
Notably, a godown and a shop were set on fire in Sector 70A on Tuesday late at night.
Ahila Bibi, another migrant, also said that she did not want to take a risk and would come back later when the situation improves, while Khalid, who works as a painter, noted that he has no other option but to leave.
“We talked to our land owner who clearly said that he will not be responsible for any untoward incident in the wake of communal flare-up. So, we decided to return to our native village,” he said. Khalid works as a painter.
A senior police officer, however, said that the situation was normal in Gurugram. “Police and RAF are deployed in the entire district to deal with any type of situation. We appealed to people to avoid rumours and to not fear,” he said.
The violence in Nuh has also led people living in Manesar, Teekli, Kasan, IMT and some other adjoining areas of Haryana are also thinking of returning to their native places.
“It has come to our knowledge that some workers are returning to their native places but the situation in Gurugram is normal. Our confidence-building exercise continues with RWAs and slum area residents. They should not fear, and we assure them of their safety and security,” Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav told PTI.
Meanwhile, many fruit hawkers were found missing from Gurdwara Road near the main vegetable market and also from Khandsa Mandi on Wednesday. The area near the Jama Masjid of Gurugram wore a deserted look. Most of the shops, including meat shops, were closed in the area after reports of shops and vehicles being torched.
In Nuh, on the other hand, some Hindu migrants have decided to leave the city. Jagdish from Madhya Pradesh, who works as a daily wager, said that he was living in Nuh for the last several months but he was now feeling scared there and wanted to leave for his village.
Ram Avatar of Uttar Pradesh, who is living here with his family, said several Hindu families have started leaving for their hometowns since Tuesday night. “About 400 Hindu families have been forced to leave the city,” Jagdish also claimed.