Muzaffarnagar communal clashes – death toll rises to 12

Muzaffarnagar: The death toll in clashes between two communities in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district has risen to twelve. Over 1000 Army jawans were moved from Meerut to Muzaffarnagar today while 38 companies of the paramilitary forces have been deployed.

Muzaffarnagar communal clashes
Muzaffarnagar communal clashes

The situation continues to be tense, with sporadic incidents of violence reported today. Police have arrested more than 30 people so far.

Uttar Pradesh has been put on high alert following the communal clashes. The state government has decided to continue the curfew in the affected areas of Muzaffarnagar for a week.

Violence broke out in the Kawal area of Muzaffarnagar yesterday when members of a community returning from a panchayat meeting in Naglabadhod, three kilometres from Kawal, clashed with members of another community.

Rajiv Verma, who worked as a freelance television journalist, was reportedly caught in the crossfire at Meenakshi Chauraha. In Sekeda village, a photographer who the police had hired, was beaten to death.

Appealing for calm, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said, “People should not pay attention to the rumours and exercise restraint. Whosoever has done this will not be allowed to go scot free.”
The state government has announced a relief of Rs. 15 lakh to the family of the TV journalist and Rs. 10 lakh to the family of others killed in the clashes. The seriously injured will be paid Rs. 50,000 each while those who received minor injuries will get Rs. 20,000, officials said.

The Kawal area has been tense since August 27 when three young men belonging to the two communities were murdered.

The police booked several politicians for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in the area. These include three Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders – an MP and two MLAs from Muzaffarnagar – and one Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Meerut.

The police have also registered cases against 299 others for promoting enmity on religious grounds after they posted a fake video claiming it showed the young men being killed on social networking site Facebook.

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