Muzaffarnagar: At least 10 more people were killed in spiralling violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district on Sunday, taking the toll to 21 even as 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, said.
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 11 on Saturday. Saxena said that adequate forces have been deployed in the riot-hit areas. Incidents of violence have been reported from Sisauli, Shahpur, Fugna, Kalapar and Dhaurakala areas of Muzaffarnagar.
The Army open fire in one place after coming under fire, Saxena said. Asked whether shoot-at-sight 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 Muzaffarnagar with the 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 during a tour of the riot-hit areas, claimed that only four police station areas were affected.
Officials said apart from the 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 officials said.
In the meanwhile, BJP has constituted a fact-finding committee headed by party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Muzaffarnagar riots, which will visit the riot-hit district on Monday. The three-member committee has been tasked by party president Rajnath Singh to assess the ground situation and look into the reasons behind the communal riots, a party spokesperson said.
Union minister Ajit Singh on Sunday accused the Akhilesh Yadav government of failing to maintain law and order in Uttar Pradesh and demanded imposition of President’s Rule in the state, in the wake of violence in Muzaffarnagar. “There have been more than 100 cases of communal riots in Uttar Pradesh since the Samajwadi Party came to power in the state. The latest riots in Muzaffarnagar have exposed the weak, ineffective and careless government which is instigating the riots from the back door,” he said in a statement. PTI