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Sep 21, 2013 at 08:46am IST

Dussehra unites people in Muzaffarnagar, Muslim effigy makers back in business

Muzaffarnagar: Around two weeks after one of the worst riots hit western Uttar Pradesh, it's not just urban Muzaffarnagar which is slowly returning to normalcy, but situation in rural areas is also improving. Dussehra seems to be uniting the Jats and the Muslims in the riot-hit villages, with-traditional Muslim effigy makers getting back to business just ahead of the festival of light.

In a land driven by enmity, communal amity is being literally shaped by these artisans. Yusuf and his family come from Purkazi, a minority dominated locality in Muzaffarnagar, renowned for the traditional effigies of Raavan made for the festival. The riots were a setback, but now artisans like Yusuf are back at work. "We have been doing this work from generations," Yusuf's son said.

Not all villages witnessed riots. When the mob frenzy was at its deadly peak and thousands were fleeing their homes. In Sisauli, a village where Jat leader late Mahendra Singh Tikait was born, the picture was different. There was tension no doubt, but Jats in Sisauli were determined to protect their Muslim brothers at any cost. And, efforts yielded results. While thousands of Muslims from nearby villages fled, not a single Muslim in Sisauli had to leave.

In other rural hinterlands of Muzaffarnagar village elders are busy making sure they bring back those who fled. Efforts are being made to go to relief camps and persuade people to come back. And slowly their efforts are paying off.