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Lashkar approached us, say Muzaffarnagar riot victims

Muzaffarnagar, (Uttar Pradesh), Jan.7 : A group of men living in the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar's relief camps have told investigators that two imams had approached them to join a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) module, according to reports.


Two Haryana imams were arrested last month for their suspected links to Lashkar-e-Taiba.

A LeT operative, had allegedly visited relief camps of victims of the Muzaffarnagar communal riots and sought to recruit men.

The men, who recorded their statements, are residents of relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. They are believed to have told investigators that the two imams from Mewat -- Hafeez Rashidi and Shahid -- allegedly made numerous visits along with a senior LeT operative, currently on the run, according to the reports.

Three months back Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's statement created a lot of controversy after he claimed that Intelligence officers had told him about Pakistan's ISI trying to recruit angry Muslim youth from Muzaffarnagar.

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 that 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.

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 07-01-2014)

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