24 September, 2020

A Jat, A Gujjar, A Thakur...

The Muslims are gone, the cane is rotting away. The rumour mill grinds away.

Sanjay Rawat
A Jat, A Gujjar, A Thakur...
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Farmers in Muzaffarnagar are now gett­ing their knives and other implements sharpened at market rates, Rs 60-70 a sickle. Muslims, if they weren’t in the refugee camps, would have done it for free, rues one of them. “Wages for small but important jobs have doubled in the last one month,” he says.

As the Jat-Muslim tensions take on a Hindu-Muslim colour, the standing crop of sug­arcane in village after village—Kakraula, Harsauli, Kakda, Rasulpur, Shahpur, Mansoor­pur, Purbaliyan—stands unharvested. It’s way past its prime and beginning to rot. The standing crop needs farm hands, both Muslim and Hindu, but they are staying back home even in November, far too scared to venture out. “Delhi cannot develop if the farmers of this state can’t farm. Only when the labourer does his work and gets his wages does the landlord get a price for his produce,” says Rakesh Tikait of the bkd.

The old alliance between Muslims and Jats lies in tatters but curiously, land prices here remain as high as ever. It’s in...

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