Conditions in Muzaffarnagar camps deplorable: Rahul

Muzaffarnagar, Dec 22 : Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to improve the condition of relief camps in Muzaffarnagar district in UP, calling their state "deplorable".

"UP government should improve the condition in the relief camps, condition is extremely bad in these camps, children are dying and the state government has to help them," Gandhi said.

"We have no animosity with the Samajwadi Party government, but Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav should focus a bit more on the Muzaffarnagar relief camps," he said.

The Congress leader said that the violence in the riot-affected areas was instigated for political purposes.

"Wherever I went, I was told me that there is no enmity amongst people and that the violence was instigated for political purposes," he said.

"Those who engineer communal riots want that you should not go back. This benefits them. They want to keep you away from your villages. I know it is difficult and there is also fear there but we have to think beyond. This will not be good in the long run," Gandhi added.

The Congress Vice President went to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh to meet riot victims at relief camps set up by the government and urged them to return home even as in places he faced black flags and protests.

Rahul Gandhi's convoy was blocked too by the agitated people living in camps fighting a bitter winter and poor sanitation, said reports.

According to reports, Gandhi urged the victims to return home saying that those who create communal riots want them to remain at the camps for their own benefits.

Rahul was accompanied by Minister of State for Home RPN Singh and AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry.

The Congress number 2 began his visit by meeting victims at the Malakpur relief camp in Shamli district. Later, he also held interactions at nearby Khurgan and Barnavi camps, reports said.

He is likely to visit several more camps.

During the interaction, some victims, however, told him that they do not want to go back to their homes as they fear they would be attacked again.

Communal riots struck Muzaffarnagar in September this year, leaving nearly 60 people dead and close to 40,000 homeless.

The violence was triggered when a young Muslim man was killed allegedly by Hindus for reportedly sexually harassing a woman.

With the spreading of the riots, thousands of people fled their homes and crowded relief camps where living conditions are poor and winter worsened the situation. Nearly 4000 of them have refused to return home fearing more violence.

--IBNS (Posted on 23-12-2013)

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