The Kairana region in Uttar Pradesh became infamous in 2016 after a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) probe acknowledged that the region was witnessing a mass exodus of Hindu families.

Currently the Kairana town is pegged to have about 85% Muslims, and the rest being mostly Hindus. In 2001 the figure was 52% Hindus and the rest were Muslims.

As per reports, about 250 Hindu families from Kairana had left their homes in fear of the region’s criminals. The law and order seemed so non-existent in the region that the police had failed to take action against the offenders, after a woman belonging to Kashyap caste was abducted, gang raped and killed.

Turns out that the matter was reported to the police of PS Kairana on 5th April 2016 by the victim’s husband but the police neither registered an FIR, nor did it carry out any searches. It was also noted that Muslim boys were known to pass lewd comments against the Hindu girls, forcing them to stay indoors.

The region was also infested with gangsters and businessmen were routinely required to make extortion payments to the notorious gangster Mukeem Kala. His gang was recorded to have committed at least 47 cases of Robbery/Murder/ Dacoity/Extortion/Violation of Arms Act within a span of just five years.

Most of the witnesses examined by the NHRC report claimed that the law and order situation had further deteriorated from 2013 when about 25/30 thousand members of Muslims Community in Kairana Town.

The prevailing sentiment was that the gangsters were largely Muslims and the victims largely Hindus. As per the traders who largely belonged to the Agarwal community, the gangsters allegedly picked on them while sparing Muslims, with the knowledge that the ruling dispensation won’t bring them any harm.

Things were so bad that three businessmen were killed within a fortnight in 2014 after they refused to pay Rs 15 lakh to the Mukim Kala gang.

This increase in crime and deteriorating law and order situation meant that many families migrated from the region, creating an exodus like situation which was seen in case of the Kashmiri Pandits in the 90’s.

A snippet of what that exodus looked like

NOW ENTER THE YOGI ADITYANATH LED UTTAR PRADESH GOVERNMENT.

As per an exclusive ground report by Swaraya, the region is slowly returning to normalcy thanks to a visible effort by the Yogi government to improve the law and order situation in the region.

Since the past few months, the Shamli police has launched a crackdown on the extortion gangs inhabiting the region, with their chief target (no points for guessing) being the Mukim Kala gang. As per Shamli’s SP, the police have arrested about 70 criminals and eliminated five in encounters.

The police notched its biggest victory at the start of this year when it killed sharp shooter Shabir Ahmed. Ahmed carried a bounty of Rs 50,000 and was wanted in more than 20 cases of loot and murder.

Mukim Kala who was arrested in 2015, now sees most of his associates either dead or behind bars. Ahmed was his final major associate after his brother who too was killed in an encounter three months ago.

The report claims that the atmosphere has improved to such an extent that the phrase, “Sarkar badalne ke baad mahaul badla hai” (The atmosphere has changed after the government has changed), is regularly heard in Kairana.

It is even claimed that talk’s in the air about traders returning back to Kairana and reopening their shops. As per Manish Kansal a businessman, now nobody turns up at shops to demand extortion money. He had earlier fled to Panipat after feeling threatened by such demands. He was convinced by neighbours to return back six months back.

Only time will tell what the future holds for Kairana and its Hindu families, and whether the police manage to ensure a crime free region, where people finally feel safe enough to do a “Gharwapsi”.

You can read the full Swarajya ground report here