The spiral of violence triggered by killings last month spread to Muzaffarnagar’s far flung rural areas on Sunday, killing 16 more people, taking the number of those consumed by the conflagration to 27. With more than 40 people injured, many critically, the toll could increase, officials said.
Uttar Pradesh governor B L Joshi sent a report to centre on Muzaffarnagar violence. In his report Governor Joshi has reportedly blamed state govt for failing to maintain peace in state. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav intervened and held meeting with officers along with chief minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav.
The Army staged flag marches in several places in the district, and thousands of anti-riot police personnel were deployed to restore order, but the odds of patrolling outlying villages came in the way of controlling the frenzy until 2pm, by which time much blood was shed.
Among the worst-hit villages was Kutba, where four people were killed, with mobs setting a place of worship on fire and gutting several shops and vehicles, said the police. Thousands of people sought refuge in police stations while others hid in sugarcane fields and fighting pitched battles across Muzaffarnagar district, 130km from Delhi, on Sunday.
At least 52 people have been arrested for the clashes that have been brewing since a boy was killed by two brothers in Kawal village on August 27 after he allegedly tried to molest their sister.
‘Firing can be ordered to check riots’
In one place Army jawans were fired at after which the soldiers returned fire. UP home secretary Kamal Saxena said all directives have been given to control the violence. “If necessary, firing can be done,” he said. All entry points to Muzaffarnagar including UP-Uttarakhand borders have been sealed to prevent rioters and inciters from entering the district.
Intelligence inputs apprehend the possibility of violence spreading to Meerut, Ghaziabad and Saharanpur if unchecked, and the UP government has tightened security in these districts as also in Saharanpur and Bijnore after communal tension was reported from these districts. “We’ve asked officials to check rumor-mongering about communal incidents,” said a top administration official. [TOI]