Rising above 2013 communal riots, Shamli’s Thana Bhawan set to re-script history of Jat-Muslim brotherhood?

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Thana Bhawan (Shamli): While the Jats and Muslims still dealing with post 2013 riots hostilities, the decade old political alliance between the two communities – which broke apart after the communal violence in the Western UP districts of Shamli and Muzaffarnagar – seems to be coming together in some forms in Thana Bhawan constituency in Shamli district.

Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Professor Sudhir Panwar – who is a Jat – seems to be encouraging apolitical equation which is difficult to politically exploit in any other constituency in Western Uttar Pradesh.

Photo; Janta Ka Reporter

In all his public address and meetings, one can see good participation of the members of the two communities which used to share good relationship in the region. Jats and Muslims sitting together and talking about the pre-riots unity between the two communities is a picture that was difficult to imagine in the immediate aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

But it is now crucially indicative of changing political fault lines and shifting loyalties, seen for the first time inthe last three years in the riot-affected region.

Though it is difficult to imagine the support of the Muslim community to Jat candidate in the wake of the communal riots, a “pro-Akhilesh wave of support among Muslims” and his own candidature can make it possible.

shamli's jat muslim
Photo; Janta Ka Reporter

The attendance in his public meetings in Muslim majority villages of the constituency validates the fact. Professor Panwar accepts the riots have severed the decade-old cordial relation between Jat and Muslims and created a valley of trust deficit between them, but he confidently claims that there is a change of heart and now the two communities now wants start afresh – forgetting what happened in the past.

“People have realised the fact that prosperity in western UP can happen only with Jat-Muslim unity and, therefore, the two communities want to redevelop the same relations they used to share earlier,” he told Janta Ka Reporter during the campaign trail.

Photo; Janta Ka Reporter

If he gets success in pulling off this combination, which even the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) did not dare to touch this time, he will ensure the defeat of Hindutva poster boy Rana – a Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) candidate who is a sitting MLA of the constituency and an accused of the 2013 riots.

Professor Panwar is the first Jat candidate to be fielded by the SP in the past 40 years and, therefore, he appears to be getting support of his fellow community members. Besides Sudhir, BSP candidate Rao Waris is another strong candidate who has consolidated Dalit votes and a decent section of Muslim votes behind him.

Of over 3 lakh total votes, Thana Bhawan has around 1.10 lakh Muslim electorates, 80,000 Jatavs (Schedule Caste community), 50,000 Jats, 20,000 Thakurs and 20,000 non-Yadav Other Backward Class voters.

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