Six years ago, Irshad Ali’s family was forced to flee their home in Muzaffarnagar, in northern Uttar Pradesh (UP). They were among 50,000 Muslims who were displaced after the riots that killed 62 and injured scores of others. Sadly, Irshad’s experience is far from unique. Caste and faith are India’s biggest dividers and ironically, consolidators.
The state of Uttar Pradesh is a political battleground ahead of the upcoming polls, with the BJP investing in infrastructure and religious pomp. But is this enough to see the ruling party maintain the gains it made in 2014, as local coalitions seek to energise grass roots voters?