Life term for 7 in murders behind Muzaffarnagar riots

Life term for 7 in murders behind Muzaffarnagar riots

Soldiers stand guard on a deserted street during a curfew in Muzaffarnagar on September 9, 2013. REUTERS FILE

A local court in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment all the seven accused in the killing of two boys — both cousins — in 2013, that triggered communal riots in the area which claimed more than 60 lives and left thousands homeless.

Additional district judge Himanshu Bhatnagar also imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on each of the convict and said that 80% of the money would be given to the families of the victims.

After the verdict, security was tightened at Kaval village in the district — where the two boys were killed following an altercation — as a precautionary measure.

Sachin and Gaurav were killed on August 27, 2013, after their bike collided with the bike of another youth, who belonged to a different community. A youth from the village was also killed in clashes over the matter.

The killing sparked off communal clashes in the district which soon spread to the neighbouring Shamli district.

Over 60 people were killed in the communal violence, while around 40,000 people, mostly Muslims, were forced to flee from their villages in the two districts and take refuge in shelter camps.

A majority of the displaced refused to return to their native villages even after the situation became normal. Fearing for their safety, they had been living with their relatives at other places.