Extortion spectre returns to Kairana
A unani doctor in Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana has alleged that extortionists had demanded Rs 5 lakh from him and threatened him with consequences, days after chief minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that he had tackled such crimes while talking about a purported fear-fuelled exodus from the town.
Mohammad Masoom, who has a clinic named Lakshya Deep in the Alkhurda locality of Kairana, on Sunday lodged a police complaint against unidentified persons after receiving a letter demanding money.
“When my compounder Mohammad Nadir opened the clinic on Saturday morning, he found a letter that had been slipped through the gap under the shutter. I rushed to the clinic and informed the police. The extortionists have demanded Rs 5 lakh within five days in the letter and threatened me with consequence if I do not pay,” Masoom said.
“This is the second letter I have received in a year. The latest letter also mentions the first one. The police are aware of both letters,” he added, saying he had not paid the first time. The letters did not mention the name of the sender, Masoom said.
Another trader in Kairana, who runs a motor parts shop, had received an extortion demand of Rs 5 lakh through a letter on September 22.
The letter had mentioned the name of Mohammad Mushtaqeem, the father of jailed criminal Mukeem Kala, as the sender.
The police have studied CCTV footage from near the shop but are yet to identify the man who delivered the letter. Police sources said the man who delivered the letter was not Mushtaqeem.
Pradeep Singh, the circle officer of Kairana, said: “We are probing the case registered by Masoom. It looks like the handiwork of a mischief-maker.”
However, local people alleged that people had been attacked or killed in the past in Kairana for ignoring letters making extortion demands.
After the murders of three local traders in 2015 and 2016, the then BJP MP of Kairana, Hukum Singh, had claimed that members of the majority community were migrating from the area because of fear of extortionists.
Giving communal colour to the cases of extortion, Hukum, who passed away in 2018, had released two lists of over 400 people who he had claimed had fled Kairana in fear of criminals, particularly extortionists belonging to the minority community.
Hukum’s claim was mostly unsubstantiated as most of the people mentioned in his lists were found to be living in Kairana. Some of the families had gone to Panipat in Haryana, barely 30km away, in search of better livelihood, not extortion.
Chief minister Adityanath raked up the issue at a public meeting in Saharanpur on September 7, claiming that such migration had stopped because of his policy of eliminating criminals in police encounters.
“Let me tell you that I will not allow anybody to create another Kairana in the state”, Adityanath had said.
The BJP had mentioned Kairana in its 2017 Assembly election manifesto. “A special police team will be formed in western UP to prevent a Kairana-like exodus,” the document had said.