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2-min read

The Disenfranchised: Story of Over 900 Citizens Forgotten by the Country

Kairana has become a household name this time. The attempt to polarise Western UP hinges on the BJP campaign which claims hundreds of Hindu families had to flee the town, to prevent themselves from being persecuted by 'another community'.

Subhajit Sengupta | CNN-News18SubhajitSG

Updated:February 11, 2017, 4:54 PM IST
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The Disenfranchised: Story of Over 900 Citizens Forgotten by the Country
An aerial view of Kairana. It is one of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Kairana has become a household name this time. The attempt to polarise Western UP hinges on the BJP campaign which claims hundreds of Hindu families had to flee the town, to prevent themselves from being persecuted by 'another community'.

The architect of the 'exodus' narrative, local BJP MP Hukum Singh though had a change of heart on the vote day morning. He told News18 that exodus is because of the poor law and order situation of the state and does not target 'a particular community'. This when a number of voters dismissed any exodus, blaming urban migration for those families who have moved away from Kairana to the urban centres in the last two decades.

But there is another side of the Kairana narrative, a colony in Daberi Kurd. This one is about those whose marginalisation is near complete. This is a colony of the victims of Muzaffarnagar riots, over 280 families stay there. But inspite of getting Aadhaar card and ration card on this address, they have not yet been registered for vote.

kairana1

Simply told, 900 citizens of this constituency have been robbed of their right to universal franchise. Shabbir Ahmed, the Hakim of the township blames the fight between two pradhans behind this.

There are others, like Yunis, who suspect the local MP could be behind this. Akram Akhtar, a local social activist who has been working here with the locals to get them the most basic of the facilities, feels 'this is red tapism at its best. Some of the Block Level Officers just don't do their job.' He and others did try to take up the issue with the District Magistrate but nothing materialised.

Roughly 19,000 voters were displaced by the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar and nearby districts. Most of them have settled in Kairana and Shamli. An unofficial estimate says atleast 35℅ of them still remain disenfranchised. A fact which puts up a serious question mark on the credibility of both the state administration and the election commission.

kairana2

The Daberi Kurd colony doesn't have any sewage system, a local Hakim is all they have for their medical needs, every picture clicked is a story of apathy and neglect. A story which was aptly summed up by a young mother of three, Sabra, who said,"No one comes here for survey, we have nothing, not even the voting right. We live in India but it seems India doesn't want us to vote."

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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