Displaced riot victims refuse to return home

Say prefer to starve to death than get killed by rioters

Though normalcy has almost returned to the riot-torn Muzaffarnagar district, thousands of people who fled their homes and took shelter at relief camps have refused to return to their villages fearing threat to their lives.

The district authorities have been making all-out attempts to persuade the displaced people to go back to their villages, assuring them that no harm would come to them.
Yet there were no takers of their assurances.

At Idgah Grounds in Kandhla, people said they preferred starving to death there rather than going back to villages and getting “killed by rioters”.

They said they had also told Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav about it when he visited them on Sunday.

They asked the Chief Minister to go to the villages and see for himself the destruction of their property.

Sources said a majority of the inmates at the relief camps wanted the government to settle them at some other place.

 People feared the violence could erupt any time, and there was no guarantee of their safety in the villages.

The assurance of the government that it would pay for building the destroyed houses also failed to cut any ice with the people.

The refusal of these people to return has put the district officials in a quandary.

“We cannot keep them in the relief camps for an  indefinite period,” an  official said, adding it was very difficult to make necessary arrangements for such a large number of people.

“Many women are pregnant while many delivered in the relief camps,” an official said.
The violence in Muzaffarnagar that erupted a week back has rendered around 45,000 people homeless.

District officials said 38 relief camps had been set up, in which around 45,000 people, including old men, women and children, had taken refuge.

The camps also had thousands of people from the Baghpat district.
They had fled their homes after the communal violence spread to the rural areas in the district.

At least 47 people were killed and over 100 injured in the violence in Muzaffarnagar and in some adjoining districts.

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