Samajwadi Party draws criticism over insensitive handling of Muzaffarnagar riot victims

New Delhi/Muzaffarnagar, Jan.1 : The Samajwadi Party (SP) and its government in Uttar Pradesh invited wrath of political parties on Wednesday for the 'insensitive' handling of riots victims in Muzaffarnagar District.

On December 23, party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav had said that those living in the relief camps were not actually riot victims, but conspirators and political activists planted by the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The state government's Principal Secretary (Home) had admitted on December 26 to the deaths of 34 children in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar.

Former Samajwadi Party leader Kamal Farooqi said he was shocked at Mulayam Singh Yadav's response to the plight of the riot victims and added that the state government has failed to support its people.

"I fail to understand how can SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav be so disconnected with the common man and problems faced by them? He was a people's leader at one point in time. Now it seems that either he is not getting proper reports or he has just changed his heart. The way the Muzaffarnagar riots and its aftermath have been handled is a total failure of the government of Uttar Pradesh and the Samajwadi Party," said Farooqi.

Forty-five people have died in the prosperous sugarcane district of Muzaffarnagar and surrounding areas since clashes erupted between Muslims and majority Hindu Jats - a conservative farming community - in a sign of rising tension between the two groups ahead of general elections due by May. Government officials say 10 of the dead are Hindus.

The riot-hit victims languish in some 40 schools and mosques which have been converted into relief camps across Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring areas, grateful for the safety in numbers and the three meals of rice and lentils provided daily.

Meanwhile, BJP lawmaker Kirti Azad expressed his disappointment with the entire episode.

"I am very disappointed with the way the entire situation has been handled. It is sad that such inhuman behaviour has been meted out to people living in camps. It seems that setting up the camp was a show off," said Azad.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Manoj Kumar Jha, supported party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's visit to the city earlier this week.

"The Muzaffarnagar riots were a matter of human interest. We had got numerous requests for Lalu Prasad Yadav to visit the relief camps. He has been associated with the people of the state and is very secular in nature. People wanted him to visit; he visited, interacted with the affected persons and administration. Mulayam Singh Yadav condemned Lalu Prasad Yadav, this just shows that how afraid he is," said Jha.

The clashes were triggered on August 27 when a Muslim youth was stabbed to death by two Hindu youths after being accused of sexually harassing their sister. A Muslim mob stoned the two Hindus to death.

In the following days the police failed to deal with the perpetrators, and politicians from various parties gave inflammatory speeches, stoking tension between Hindus and Muslims who, local people say, had lived in this area in relative harmony since independence in 1947.

--ANI (Posted on 01-01-2014)

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