Muzaffarnagar, Sept 9 IBNS | 2 years ago

The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday said four Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs and a Congress leader have been booked along with 35 others for inciting mob violence in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district as the death toll from communal clashes in the region rose to 26 and reports of violence from remote villages kept coming in.

Meanwhile, UP Governor BL Joshi, in his report to the Centre, has reportedly accused the Akhilesh Yadav government for failing to maintain communal harmony.

The police on Monday placed shoot at sight orders in Muzaffarnagar.

"The present situation is normal. But we have placed shoot at sight orders. Anyone found burning houses, damaging property, killing anyone, he will be shot," Uttar Pradesh Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) RK Vishwakarma told reporters.

Elaborating on the present situation, he said: "The city is otherwise absolutely normal. Curfew imposed as a preventive measure."

More than 800 Army soldiers were deployed in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday.

A state of high alert has been declared for the entire state of Uttar Pradesh with soldiers resorting to door-to-door searches in the district of Muzaffarnagar.

The clashes between two communities also claimed the life of a freelance TV journalist on Saturday, reports said.

Eight army columns were moved from Meerut to Muzzafarnagar on Sunday early morning and two more columns have being deployed in Shamli, the Indian Army said in a tweet.

"The situation is still very tense but under control," said the state's Principal Secretary (Home) RM Srivastava.

Uttar Pradesh 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."

A senior UP police official said the situation is tense but peaceful on Sunday while of the eight columns five were deployed in rural areas.

He said additional 25 columns of paramilitary forces were also deployed for extensive patrolling taking the total columns to 38.

"Problem is more in rural areas. We have to be watchful," he said.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also imposed a curfew in the area after the clashes.

The police said the curfew will continue in the rural areas for a week.

The state has been put on high alert on Sunday and police said about 30 people were arrested in connection with the clashes.

A journalist, who was identified as Rajesh Verma, was among the ten people killed in the clashes in the area.

The freelance journalist was shot dead while he was covering the clashes in the PS Kotwali area of the district, media reports said.

Another photographer was beaten to death in a separate incident.

As many as 40 others were injured in the clashes.

Akhilesh Yadav appealed for peace in the state and said that people should refrain themselves from paying attention to the rumours and exercise restraint.

"Whosoever has done this will be punished strictly," he said.

The state government has reportedly 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.

Violence erupted in the Kawal area of Muzaffarnagar on Saturday when members of a community returning from a panchayat meeting inNaglabadhod, clashed with members of another community.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said at a press meet on Saturday that communal clashes are rising in India with 451 cases reported this year as against 410 last year.

Shinde informed that he has spoken to the UP chief minister on the matter and also alerted other states.

(Posted on 09-09-2013)