Curfew lifted in Muzaffarnagar


Muzaffarnagar: Curfew was on Monday lifted from all parts of riot-hit Muzaffarnagar, ten days after it was imposed, as the administration found the situation "conducive" for scaling down the high alert.
"The curfew has been removed from all areas of the district now. The situation is conducive and peaceful now. We also had VIP visits (Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Prime Minister) and hence we took a decision in this regard. There will be no curfew from 7 pm today," District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told reporters here.
Night patrolling and intensified vigil will be on, he said, adding all schools in the district have opened and very soon a decision will be taken to de-induct Army columns which were out to maintain law and order. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Praveen Kumar said vigil will not be let down and force level would remain the same in order to avoid any toward incident, adding liquor shops in the area will also have to shut compulsorily by 7 pm.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, visited the violence-hit areas and promised "strictest punishment" to the perpetrators. Singh appealed to all sections of the society to maintain peace and harmony and assured all help from the Centre to the state government to restore normalcy.
Singh, Sonia and Rahul visited a camp in Bassi Kalan village, where Muslims affected by violence have taken shelter. They also visited Jat-dominated Bawali and Khanjpura villages, which too have witnessed riots. Sharma said few people from two villages have returned from the camps. Curfew was first clamped in three police station areas of the district on September 7. Kumar said that close to 20 Special Investigation Teams (SITs) have been constituted to probe the riot cases and some big arrests would be done in the next two days.
"We are conducting our investigations (into the riot cases). We have almost collected all evidence and we are now taking legal consultations and it will not take more than two days for us to finish this and act," he said.
Sources said the district police will also write to the state government soon to obtain sanction for prosecution against some top people allegedly involved in inciting mobs. Sharma told PTI that the administration has decided to deploy more forces in the village areas and allow VIPs to visit so that peace and communal harmony could be maintained.
He said that till now 39 people have died and 68 have been injured in the riots. Close to 1,700 arms licences have been cancelled in the area since the riots erupted and some more may be cancelled in the next few days, he said. Sharma and Kumar asked people not to spread rumours and work for communal harmony, which would be "awarded by the administration".
"We all have to work for the unity of the society. We have no problem with the visit of VIPs now and we request them to urge people to maintain communal harmony and respect human relations," the DM said.
A total of 7,198 people from 4,729 families are at present living in 41 relief camps being set up by the administration, he said, adding the problem has largely been witnessed in 32 villages of Muzaffarnagar. The SSP said that special teams have been asked to go to camps to obtain complaints from the riot-affected people and people can even approach the SSPs camp office in the city to file the complaints.
"I assure that action will be taken. It is our effort that no innocent is punished and all notorious and criminals in this case are nabbed. People should come to my camp office rather than going to a police station to file FIRs," he said.
He said that DNA samples are being taken of the bodies being recovered so that make sure the claimants of the dead. "We are in the process of preparing a water tight case. I can assure 200 per cent that we will take action," he said. 

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