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Dainik Jagran’s False Reporting Exposed: Hindus not Migrating from their Villages in Seemanchal

tanzil asif Reported By Tanzil Asif |
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In a recent series of articles titled ‘Seemanchal ka Sach’ (Truth of Seemanchal), Dainik Jagran, a popular Hindi newspaper, targeted the Seemanchal region of Bihar. The articles, published on December 29th, 30th, and 31st, 2022, made alarming claims about the dominance of infiltrators and the alleged migration of minority Hindus from their villages in the region.

The articles targeted specific villages in the Dighalbank block of Kishanganj district and in the Barari block of Katihar district. However, an on-ground investigation has uncovered the truth, exposing the false claims made by the newspaper.

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Unity and Harmony in Laxmipur Village

Dated December 29, 2022, Dainik Jagran published an article titled “Dominance of Infiltrators in Seemanchal, Minority Hindus Migrate” on the front page of its Bhagalpur edition. The article alleged that Laxmipur village in Laxmipur panchayat, which previously had around 20 Hindu households, had seen a complete migration of Hindus and now, according to claim, not a single Hindu family lives in the village.

Main Media’s team visited Laxmipur village in Kishanganj district on January 11, 2023, to verify the claims made by Dainik Jagran. Neelmohan Yadav, a resident of Laxmipur village, expressed his anger and frustration upon hearing about the false reporting. He challenged the claims made by the newspaper, stating that Laxmipur village had several tolas (small helmets within a village) and a significant Hindu population.

“Laxmipur village has around 400 Hindu families, including that of the former district president of BJP,” Yadav emphasized. He went on to share examples of Hindu-Muslim unity in the village, highlighting events such as joint celebrations of Holi and cultural gatherings. Yadav vehemently rejected the notion of Hindu families migrating and emphasized that Laxmipur village epitomized the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb (composite culture) with its harmonious coexistence.

We also spoke with Gopal Mohan Singh, the former district president of BJP and a resident of Laxmipur village. Singh refuted the claims made by Dainik Jagran, stating that there were hundreds of Hindu families residing in Laxmipur. He stressed that rumors of Hindu migration were baseless and detrimental to the development and progress of the region.

Incorrect names of villages

Dainik Jagran’s reporter, Sanjay Singh, seemed to have little knowledge of the villages, as even the names of the villages and panchayats were incorrect.

The article says, “As the Muslim population in Futniganj of Singhimari panchayat increased, Hindu families shifted to Poddar Palsa village. Futniganj is now a 100% Muslim village.”

In Futaniganj village, which was incorrectly referred to as Futniganj in the newspaper, the team found no evidence to support the article’s allegations of complete Hindu migration. Instead, the Main Media discovered a vibrant community comprising around 100 Hindu families, including Rajbanshis, Rishidevs, and tribals.

Dhan Singh, a shop owner at Futaniganj intersection, confirmed that in his 46 years of life, he had not witnessed any migration from the village. He estimated that the village had around 30 Rajbanshi households and 20-25 Rishidev households, further dispelling the claims of complete Muslim dominance.

Jhubri Devi, a member of the Rishidev community in Futaniganj, shares some insightful details. She mentions that there are 17 Rishidev families residing in their village, and none of them have left. However, upon further inquiry, Jhubri reveals that her uncle had left the village due to fear, as he had taken a loan. Additionally, she recounts the unfortunate incident where her son Rajkumar went to Delhi to work around 20 years ago and mysteriously disappeared there. Despite these two instances, Jhubri assures that the rest of the community continues to live in the village, with no migration observed.

Kailash Prasad Singh, a resident and self-proclaimed quack in Faudar Palsa, asserts that in his 65 years of life, no family from Futaniganj has ever relocated to Faudar Palsa. Emphasizing the location, he clarifies that it is indeed Faudar Palsa and not Poddar Palsa, as mentioned in Dainik Jagran’s report.

Limited space for large family

According to the Dainik Jagran newspaper, a few years ago, Mohamari and Baalubari in Dhantola Panchayat had around 40-50 Hindu households and 15 Muslim houses. However, the current scenario indicates that the Muslim population has now risen to an estimated 90-95%, with a significant decline in the number of Hindu households.

Contrary to this claim, local residents state that Mohamari village comprises 8-9 tolas with an approximate population of 10,000, of which around 60% are Hindus.

Around 90 years ago, Phagolal Singh, the father of Devnath Singh, constructed the first pucca house in the village. Baidyanath Tola, one of the tolas in Mohamari, was named after Phagolal’s elder brother, Baidyanath Singh. Devnath Singh vehemently denies any migration of Hindu families from the village and claims that the Hindu population remains stable.

Ganesh Singh, a resident of Dhantola Panchayat’s Baalubari village, concurs with Devnath Singh’s statement, mentioning that no one from their village has migrated. However, Ganesh Singh expresses the desire to purchase land elsewhere in the future due to the challenges posed by limited space for his large family.

We ourselves would have agitated: BJP leader

Dainik Jagran’s article also mentions that, “In Kathotiya and Kalikapur villages in Barari block in Katihar, West Barinagar panchayat’s Marghia, Sukhasan, Durgapur, Jagdishpur, Barari’s Talibhatta tola, several Hindus have migrated and are in minority now.”

According to Mahesh Kumar Singh, a resident of Sukhasan village, the reported information about Hindus becoming a minority and migrating is entirely false. He states, “90% of the population in Sukhasan village is Hindu. Whoever called Hindus a minority here is misinformed.” Furthermore, residents of Sukhasan village reiterated that Hindus and Muslims live together harmoniously, and there is no enmity between them.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Dharmendra Singh, a BJP leader and ward member of Durgapur panchayat. When asked about the alleged migration of Hindus, he responded, “Had that been the case, we ourselves would have agitated. But nothing as such has been seen anywhere.” He emphasized that tolas (neighborhoods) in Durgapur without Hindu populations had never had Hindus residing there in the first place.

In Jagdishpur village, Ramesh Chandra Chaudhary, an elderly resident, affirmed that Hindus are the majority. He refuted claims of any Hindu families leaving the village or any recent settlements by outsiders. Ramesh provided estimates of approximately 400 Hindus and 200 Muslims residing in Jagdishpur village, with no knowledge of infiltrators living there.

Ganesh Lal Mandal, a resident of Kalikapur village, stated that the village has a Hindu majority, with only a few Muslim families. He firmly denied any Hindu families leaving the village and dismissed news reports of people migrating from Kalikapur. In Kathotiya village, Prem Lal Madhaiya, another local resident, mentioned that his family has been living there for generations and has never faced any difficulties.

Devastating effects of Ganga river erosion

Talibhatta village under Barari Nagar panchayat of Katihar district, has become a sanctuary for numerous families who have been uprooted due to the devastating effects of Ganga river erosion in recent years. The village, located in the Barari block, has seen an influx of residents seeking solace from the destructive forces of nature.

According to local resident Guddu Gupta, the population of Talibhatta now stands at approximately 2300, with the majority being Hindus. Gupta revealed that every inhabitant of the village is a victim of river erosion. The harrowing experience has forced families to scatter and search for new beginnings far from their ancestral homes.

Gupta himself shared the story of his own family’s displacement. Previously, they would live 5 kilometers away from Talibhatta. When asked about their former village, Gupta recalled names such as Kunjnagar Guru Mela, Jarlahi, Jaunia, and Pakhera, all of which were ravaged by river erosion.

The displaced families, including both Hindus and Muslims, have found solace and shelter in Talibhatta village. In a display of resilience, these families have managed to rebuild their lives from scratch after losing their land, belongings, and community ties to the relentless river.

Contrary to the claims made by Dainik Jagran, suggesting that Hindus from numerous villages in the Barari block migrated due to becoming minorities in their own villages, the reality on the ground tells a different story. The undeniable truth is that these families have been compelled to leave their homes solely due to the force of river erosion, seeking refuge in Talibhatta and other surrounding areas.

The statements from various locals contradict the claims made in the Dainik Jagran article. The interviewed individuals assert that Hindu families have not migrated from the villages mentioned and that there is no evidence of recent settlement by outsiders. They stress the harmonious coexistence of Hindus and Muslims in these areas, debunking any notions of animosity or tensions.

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Tanzil Asif is a multimedia journalist-cum-entrepreneur. He is the founder and the CEO of Main Media. He occasionally writes stories from Seemanchal for other publications as well. Hence, he has bylines in The Wire, The Quint, Outlook Magazine, Two Circles, the Milli Gazette etc. Tanzil is one of six Indian journalists selected by YouTube in 2021 for its Creator Program for Independent Journalists. He is also a Josh Talks speaker, an Engineer and a part-time poet.

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