Haji Dilshad of Issapur Khurgan and his friends Tahir and Gulshad spend a lot of their time discussing “Indian secularism” now-a-days. Their philosophical bent of mind is a result of their recently-thwarted attempts to resettle Muslim families displaced by last September’s riots.
Tired of petitioning villages to take back their Muslims, Haji Dilshad decided last month that he would give up a part of his private land to build houses for the displaced. The plan was that the NGO he heads, Anjuman Ittihadul Muslimeen, would build homes on his land using charity funds.
But—it could happen only in Uttar Pradesh—last week, as inauguration day dawned, the administration stopped them dead in their tracks. “We have been getting threats since our inaugural event on 2nd June,” says Tahir Hassan on the phone from Kairana. The threats, he says, are from civilian district officials who’ll put him in jail if construction starts.
Tahir says that initially the Anjuman did ask refugees to pay what they could for their new...