Toll in Muzaffarnagar violence climbs to 38, curfew continues

Curfew Tuesday remained in force in riot-hit areas of Muzaffarnagar with the Army patrolling troubled places as the death toll in the clashes in the district and adjoining towns rose to 38.

Over 360 people have been arrested in connection with the violence.

“A total of 38 people have died in various districts of western Uttar Pradesh with 32 deaths in Muzaffarnagar,” home secretary Kamal Saxena told PTI in Lucknow.

While two deaths have been reported from Meerut, one each has been reported from Hapur, Baghpat, Saharanpur and Shamli, Saxena said adding that 81 people have been injured in these districts and 366 people have been arrested.

The home secretary said no fresh incident has been reported and the situation was under control.

Curfew in three police station areas of Muzaffarnagar — Civil Lines, Kotwali and Nai Mandi — was continuing and Army was patrolling the troubled areas in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Meerut, Saxena said.

Prohibitory orders are being enforced strictly and a strict watch is being maintained on mischievous elements.

FIRs were Monday registered against BJP legislative party leader Hukum Singh, MLAs Suresh Rana, Bhartendu, Sangeet Som and former Congress MP Harendra Malik among others for violating prohibitory orders and some of the senior leaders who tried to go to Muzaffarnagar, including union minister Ajit Singh.

The injured are undergoing treatment in various hospitals and the affected people have been shifted to safer places.

The government has constituted a one-member judicial commission headed by (retired) justice Vishnu Sahai to probe into the Muzaffarnagar violence starting August 27 from the Kawal incident till September 9 and would submit its report in two months time.

Concerned over the incidents, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday spoke to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and assured him of all help from the Centre to deal with the situation.

The Opposition has accused the state government of failing to act in time to prevent the violence but the ruling Samajwadi Party hit back, saying its rivals were trying to stir up communal trouble.

The chief minister saw a “political conspiracy” behind the riots to destabilise his government while rivals BJP, BSP and RLD accused the SP of trying to advance its political interests by polarising voters. They demanded imposition of central rule in the state.

Union home ministry asked the state government to send Muzaffarnagar situation report every 12 hours. It also asked the state government to deploy enough forces in rural areas in the district where violence is yet to be contained.

Authorities cancelled 1,744 arms licenses in Bhorkala, Shahpur, Phugana and some other areas of the district.

The state government also shunted out Saharanpur DIG, SSP Muzaffarnagar and SP Shamli. Violence-hit Muzaffarnagar lies in Saharanpur range.

UP governor B.L. Joshi has sent a report on the Muzaffarnagar violence to the Centre, which, sources said in Lucknow, has details regarding the administrative lapses as well as the situation prevailing there.

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