The real story behind “Hindu exodus” in North Delhi East’s Maujpur
The right-wing is peddling a narrative that a “Kairana” model exodus is underway in North East Delhi’s Maujpur locality. The Hindu families living in these riot-affected areas are on the verge of selling their properties out of fear. But what is the real story behind the "for sale due to fear from one community” posters?
Dharampal Tyagi, in his late 60s, murmured, “The situation here is worse than Kairana. We have no options but to sell off our properties and shift to some other locality.” Tyagi is a retired Delhi Police personnel and lives in North East Delhi’s Mohanpuri. The neighbourhood is part of the Maujpur locality.
The name of the two places – Maujpur and Kairana – is extremely relevant in this case. The North East district’s Maujpur emerged as the epicentre of the Delhi riots in February 2020. During the riots, the Maujpur-Badarpur metro station area was captured by the Hindu communal mob. Slogans were raised and inflammatory speeches were posted on social media platforms from this location. The road-blockade here was in response to the Jaffrabad blockade being carried out by Muslim women against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Meanwhile, Kairana is a small township in Western Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district. Kairana hit the national media headlines in 2016 when Bharatiya Janata Party Lok Sabha MP Hukum Singh claimed that a Hindu exodus is taking place in the township. Later, the late BJP MP’s claim was disproven as it emerged that the migration of the population was triggered by a rise in the crime rate and shrinking business opportunities.
Even though Singh amended his stance about the “Hindu exodus” in Kairana, the jinn of the exodus continues to haunt urban landscapes.
Back in Mohanpuri, Tyagi’s own house has a poster proclaiming that it is up for sale. Roughly half a dozen houses in the lane next to Tyagi’s have similar posters. His younger brother Rajpal Tyagi’s house, too, has a similar poster pasted outside.
In Gali number 7 of Mohanpuri, which has over 80 houses, a number of Hindu households have put up posters declaring that they want to sell their properties due to “fear of a particular community”.
It didn’t take long for the right-wing social media warriors to peddle the narrative on the internet that a Hindu exodus is underway in the Maujpur locality of North East Delhi. On July 31, North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari visited these households. He assured them that the local authorities will pay heed to their grievances and that better security arrangements would be made.
But what is the truth behind these posters? Do they really want to sell their houses and migrate to “safer locations”?
Hindu houses up for “sale”
The gates of Gali Number - 7 of Mohanpuri have been recently painted saffron. A chemist’s shop named Ganga Medical is located at the entrance on the Main Yamuna Vihar Road. The medical shop owned by Jaiveer Singh Tomar was torched during the riots. Tomar’s family received Rs 5 lakh compensation from the Delhi government for the damages to the shop and their house.
His 52-year-old wife, Sunita, took us to the entrance of their house. A white poster pasted on the wall read, “This house is for sale”.
When asked why she wants to sell her house, Sunita said, “Both our shops were gutted during the riots. Recently, our bike was stolen. What options do we have? We want to sell off this property out of fear. We want to live in a safer locality.”
She said that the family pasted the poster a week back. However, it is to be noted that no contact number was written on the poster for which enquiries related to the sale and purchase could be made.
This correspondent enquired whether the family has informed any real estate agents or put up an advertisement stating that they wish to sell their house, as these are the most commonly used methods to sell and buy properties in Delhi.
Sunita said, “When my husband returns home, then we will go ahead with the process. We are waiting for my husband to get bail.”
Jaiveer Singh Tomar, 60s, was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch in connection to the murder of a Muslim man during the Delhi riots.
“He has been arrested under false charges. He was framed in the murder which happened during the riots,” she said. Sunita lives with her son, Deepak Singh, in the two-storey house. She has been overseeing the operations of the medical shop ever since Tomar was arrested by the Delhi Police in April.
Notably, she has rented out one of her shops to Nadim Siddique. For the past two years, Siddique has been running his workshop where he prepares photo frames and designs for small temples with decorative materials made of cardboard.
The house of Rajpal, a Delhi University non-teaching staff, is located a few metres from here. A white poster identical to the one outside Sunita’s house was pasted right below the address and nameplate.
“There is this person named Parvez Alam. He was murdered during the riots. His place of murder has been shown at three different locations. And yet 16 Hindu men have been charged for his murder and are arrested since April,” Rajpal said.
“Ab tak iss par sunwai nahi hai (Our appeals are not being heard). What is the court doing? What is the administration and the government doing?” he said. “People are questioning the police’s investigation.”
He further claimed that these men were being “framed” as many of them were associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“Most of these men belong to the RSS and that is why they are being targeted,” Rajpal said.
Rajpal too had not mentioned any contact number for enquiries. He has neither approached any real estate agent, nor has he put out an advertisement for selling his house.
A couple of houses near Rajpal’s had identical white posters declaring that they want to sell their house due to fear from “one community”, including one owned by a sub-inspector of Delhi Police.
Under conditions of anonymity, he said, “Who doesn’t fear for their lives?” He further accused the incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of being biased and of helping only the Muslim riot victims.
A similar claim was made by Rajpal Tyagi’s nephew Sidhartha Tyagi. He claimed that local AAP MLA and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai has not helped them even once during and after the riots.
Rajpal Tyagi, 48, is a Mathematics teacher in a government-aided private school in North East Delhi.
“The Crime Branch had summoned him at their Dwarka office on April 9. Since then he hasn’t returned home,” Rajpal Tyagi’s wife Pratibha told Asiaville.
He is one of 16 accused in the murder case.
When asked about the poster, she failed to provide conclusive answers until prompted by Sidhartha Tyagi. In the first instance, she said, “Media ne lagwaya tha (Journalists had asked us to paste it)”.
When Sidhartha prompted her again, 43-year-old Pratibha corrected herself and said, “My elder daughter had written it and pasted it here.”
According to Sidhartha, five to six Hindu households living in the lane had mutually decided to put up the “for sale” posters as they felt unsafe.
However, not a single one of these posters had phone numbers for enquiries. Sidhartha said, “We haven’t given the advertisement to any property dealer yet. But if anyone is willing to buy our properties, we will sell it. If we live here, our houses and life both will be at stake.”
Her elderly grandmother was more brazen in her response which can be roughly translated into: “The Mullahs (Muslims) pose a threat to us.”
Notably, the entire locality has only three Muslim households. Those from the Hindu community praise them as they had stood together to protect the neighbourhood from the rioters.
The residents claim that a Muslim mob of over 1000 people had entered the locality during the riots. However, it appears that the residents of Mohanpuri were lucky. Only Tomar’s shop – which is located on the main road – was gutted. Besides that, not a single household was damaged during the riots. Other localities where the communal frenzied mob had entered in such numbers were left bearing the worst scars of the riots.
A similar poster was found at Mishra Electricals on the Yamuna Vihar Main road, which is located barely five minutes away from Gali Number 7 of Mohanpuri. The shop also serves as the entrance to Mishra’s house. This area is also known as Noor-e-Illahi’s locality.
Two of the four Mishra brothers were summoned by the Crime Branch. Uttam Mishra, 55, was arrested on April 9 in connection to the same murder case.
“It has been four months since my husband was arrested,” Sashi Mishra, 51, said. She shared that her elder daughter couldn’t bear this shock and died two months back.
“My daughter used to cry for her father’s return. She waited and died even before he could return,” Sashi said, breaking down in tears as she shared these details.
When asked about the “for sale” poster, she retorted, “We want all 16 accused, who have been framed in this murder case, should get justice. I am single handedly managing my four kids. I want my husband to return and submerge the asthi (bones left after the funeral) by his own hands.”
“The trust is broken”
Asiaville reached out to the Station House incharge of the Jafrabad Police Station. SHO Ram Meher said, “There is no problem in the locality. Some people are under arrest and are in jail. Besides this, the situation is quite normal.”
He further added, “When one’s family members are in jail, people tend to try out different methods. But these residents should choose the legal way for remedy.”
SHO Meher said that he has held meetings with families of the locality.
However, he declined to comment on the details of the murder case and those arrested.
Meanwhile, in Mohanpuri, Sidhartha Tyagi introduced this correspondent to Aas Mohammad.
He has been running the steel fabrication workshop in Gali number 7 for the past 14-15 years and lives in the nearby lane.
When asked about the fear of Hindu households, he replied, “Had there been any risk to the lives of those living in this lane, the risk to my life would have been even higher. There are only two Muslim businessmen in this entire lane.”
Mohammad said that the rioters have left behind irreparable damage to the society: “The riots have broken the trust we had on each other. Now, he (pointing at Sidhartha) doesn’t have trust in me, and neither would I have trust in them."