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Muzaffarnagar toll climbs to 31; Centre asks states to be vigilant

New Delhi, Sept 9, 2013 (PTI): 17:39 IST
An army trooper during a flag march in the curfew-hit areas in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday. Army was deployed in the curfew clamped area of Muzaffarnagar after communal clashes on Saturday. PTI Photo
Against the backdrop of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in UP, Centre has asked seven states to be extra vigilant and effectively deal with petty skirmishes to avert any communal flare-up.

This was conveyed by the Home Ministry to governments of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir -- all of whom have witnessed communal violence in recent past.

"We have conveyed to the states to take every small incident seriously and control it immediately with utmost care. We have asked the state governments to convey this message down the line to the police station level," a senior government officer said.
The violence in Muzaffarnagar, which has claimed 31 lives, was started initially with an incident of eve teasing.

Communal violence was reported last month from Nawada in Bihar where two people lost their lives while 22 others were injured. This incident was started over serving non-vegetarian dish in a roadside eatery.

Some other communal violence, reported from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir, also started with trivial incidents.

According to official figures, the country saw 451 incidents of communal violence till August 31 this year, above the number of 410 in 2012.

Besides, the Centre has received intelligence inputs about polarisation in some parts of the country which may vitiate country's social fabric and needed to be checked immediately, the states were told.

The state governments were also warned that such incidents may increase in coming days and expected to take place in the run up to the 2014 general elections, the official said.

The states were asked to analyse the reasons for such violence and take remedial steps so that in future no petty incident takes communal colour, as witnessed in the past.
The report of polarisation in some parts of the country was also flagged by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was "very concerned" over the spurt in communal violence in the last few months, the official said.

Infact, last week's meeting of Chief Secretaries and DGPs of the seven states, convened by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, was held following a directive of the Prime Minister.

Seth, accompanied by Home Secretary Anil Goswami, reviewed the security situation of the seven states, which witnessed communal violence in recent months, and suggested several urgent measures that were needed to be taken.

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