To play safe in LS polls, SP plans riot camps eviction

Fears detractors will make it poll issue

The UP government started the eviction drive at the relief camps close on the heels of political leaders visiting the Muzaffarnagar riot victims there.

It fears that its detractors can make it a big issue in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections which are barely a few months away.

The administration in Muzaffarnagar moved in with sudden alacrity soon after the Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav took a tough stand on existing relief camps. He alleged that those living there were in fact “people of the Congress and BJP”.
His remarks came a day after the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited the Loi relief camp and decried the ‘poor conditions’ there. He had asked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to take steps to improve conditions at the camp.

After Rahul, many other leaders and human rights groups visited the relief camps. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav also visited the camp at Loi on Sunday.

“We could not allow the camps to remain there indefinitely. They have become a huge embarrassment for the state government. Our opponents were hell bent on making it a big issue,” said a senior SP leader here.

Find a way out

According to sources here, Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma was called for discussions and told to find a way out to either send the inmates to their relatives or some other government buildings.

A senior SP leader has also been entrusted with the responsibility of talking to the ‘Intazamia’ (managing) committee that oversaw the arrangements at the camps, and persuade the victims to vacate them.

Sources said the administration was instructed not to use force and adopt other means to accomplish the task.

“There was an apprehension that more deaths from cold could occur at the camps if they remained there in the open in harsh winter,” said an official. Those who are leaving the camp will get ration kits containing ration for 10 days.

On Saturday as many as 233 tents were removed from Loi relief camp.

On Friday also several tents were removed. There are over a hundred of tents there wherein hundreds of displaced riot victims are living.

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