Communal tension spreads to UP villages

Jittery officials point fingers at upcoming polls

Recurring communal violence in Uttar Pradesh has been giving nightmares to officers, who feel that there may be a deliberate attempt to foment communal tension in view of the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The officers here admit that the communal tension has been spreading in the rural areas, which was ‘more disturbing’ as it was ‘difficult’ to control the clashes if they gripped the villages owing to the difficulties in reaching them.

Reports of attacks on members of a particular community in trains have also been a cause of deep concern as such incidents only incited communal passion and aggravate the problems in the affected areas, they say.

While the situation in the communally sensitive Muzaffarnagar district, about 450 kilometres from here, which had witnessed large scale rioting on Saturday, continued to be tense.

The flare up also engulfed Shamli district where one person was killed in the violence on Tuesday.

Communal tension also gripped Deoband town in Saharanpur district after four students of a  ‘madarsa’ (islamic seminary) were allegedly roughed up in a train near Khatauli station in Meerut district on Monday.

The situation in Muzaffarnagar worsened after the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) convened a panchayat to chalk out its strategy over the killing of two youths in the violence. The district administration had banned the panchayat but thousands of people had reached the venue through by traversing over fields giving a slip to the security personnel.

A spate of communal riots had rocked the state ever since the SP came to power after the Assembly polls in March last year triggering resentment among the Muslims, considered to be the vote bank of the party. Many Muslim leaders of the SP have openly voiced concern over recurring communal riots and charged the government with failing to ensure protection to the community.

There have been over a dozen incidents of communal violence in different parts in the state since the Akhilesh Yadav government took over in which 15 people have lost their lives while scores others sustained injuries raising a question mark on the young chief minister’s pledge to give a ‘bhaya mukta’ (free from fear) society besides incurring the wrath of the opposition parties.

“It could be a deliberate attempt to disturb communal amity in the state in view of the approaching elections,” said a senior police officer.

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