Curfew eased in 3 areas, toll rises to 38 in Muzaffarnagar violence
Curfew was today relaxed for two hours in three areas of trouble-hit Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh even as the death toll in the clashes in the district and adjoining towns climbed to 38.
With no reports of any fresh violence, curfew was eased for two hours from 3.30 pm in Kotwali, Civil Lines and Nai Nandi areas, district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said. The district administration had clamped curfew on Saturday following incidents of communal violence.
"A total of 38 people have died in various districts of western UP with 32 deaths in Muzaffarnagar", Home Secretary Kamal Saxena told PTI in Lucknow when asked about communal violence over the last three days.
While two deaths have been reported from Meerut, one each has been reported from Hapur, Baghpat, Saharanpur and Shamli, he said, adding that 81 people have been injured in these districts and 366 people have been arrested.
The Home Secretary claimed that the situation was "under control".
Sending out a stern warning, U P Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said, "The state government would deal strictly with all those who have tried to create communal chasm and harm the atmosphere of Muzaffarnagar and Uttar Pradesh."
"It would be our efforts that communal amity is strengthened and the areas where situation has been brought under control no new incidents are allowed to take place", he told reporters after a state cabinet meeting here which took stock of the recent developments.
"We have got information that many people have left there homes and villages and collected elsewhere and they have to return...it would be my appeal that brotherhood should remain intact", he said.
Curfew remained in force in other areas. Army patrolled the troubled areas in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Meerut, Saxena said.
Prohibitory orders are being enforced strictly and a close watch is being maintained on mischievous elements, he said.
Security has been stepped up in sensitive Bareilly district following communal violence in western districts of Uttar Pradesh.
"Though there is complete calm in the district but apprehending that anti-social elements may try to vitiate the atmosphere, prohibitory orders have been issued and leave of all the policemen cancelled as a precautionary measure", district magistrate Abhishek Prakash said.
In Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in Muzaffarnagar violence and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured.
Singh had on Monday spoken to the chief minister and assured him of all help from the Centre to deal with the situation.
FIRs have been registered against BJP legislative party leader Hukum Singh, MLAs Suresh Rana, Bhartendu, Sangeet Som and former Congress MP Harendra Malik among others for violating prohibitory orders and some of the senior leaders who tried to go to Muzaffarnagar.
A one-member judicial commission headed by retired Justice Vishnu Sahai has been constituted by the state government to probe into the Muzaffarnagar violence and asked to submit its report in two months.
The opposition has accused the state government of failing to act in time to prevent the violence but the ruling Samajwadi Party has hit back, saying its rivals were trying to stir up communal trouble.
The chief minister saw a "political conspiracy" behind the riots to destabilize his government while rivals BJP, BSP and RLD accused the SP of trying to advance its political interests by polarising voters. They demanded imposition of central rule in the state.
Union Home Ministry asked the state government to send Muzaffarnagar situation report every 12 hours. It also asked the state government to deploy enough forces in rural areas in the district where violence is yet to be contained.
Authorities cancelled 1,744 arms licenses in Bhorkala, Shahpur, Phugana and ome other areas of the district. The state government has also shunted out Saharanpur DIG, SSP Muzaffarnagar and SP Shamli. Violence-hit Muzaffarnagar lies in Saharanpur range.