21 killed in spiralling violence in Muzaffarnagar

At least 10 more people were killed in spiralling violence in Muzaffarnagar today, taking the toll to 21 in the western UP district where the army staged flag marches and thousands of anti-riot police personnel were deployed to restore law and order.

“As it (violence) is going on in several villages, it is taking time to defuse the situation,” additional director general of police Arun Kumar, who took stock of the situation in the affected areas, told PTI here.

District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said that 21 people have died in the violence so far. However, in Lucknow, UP home secretary Kamal Saxena said that 19 people have so far been killed in the violence, including 11on Saturday.

Saxena said that adequate force has been deployed in the affected areas and incidents of violence have been reported from Sisauli, Shahpur, Fugna, Kalapar and Dhaurakala areas of Muzaffarnagar.

In one place Army had to resort to firing after someone opened fire at them, he said. Asked whether shoot at site orders have been given, Saxena said that directives have been issued to control the situation and for that if necessary firing can be done.

While curfew remained in force in Civil Lines, Kotwali and Nai Mandi town areas of the district with Army carrying out a flag march, violence has now spread to more rural areas.

ADG Kumar, who was escorted by a massive contingent of security personnel, claimed that only four police station areas were affected.

Officials said apart from Army, 10,000 provincial armed constabulary personnel, 1300 CRPF men and 1200 Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed.

In Kutba, where four people were killed, mobs set ablaze a religious place, several shops and vehicles. In Phugana village, cops said three members of a community had taken shelter in a police station, fearing violence.

The other badly affected villages were Shahpur, Bhuvana, Basi Kala.

Army’s assistance has been sought by UP government in nearby Shamli and Meerut district, Amry sources said.

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