Muzaffarnagar: 2 more killed as violence spreads to other areas

Tension continued in Muzaffarnagar, the scene of communal violence for the last two days. Violence spread to neighbouring district of Shamli where a 40-year-old Imam of a mosque, Maulana Umar Din, was shot dead, Shamli District Magistrate P K Singh said.

Curfew remained in force in Muzaffarnagar town and army staged flag marches for the second consecutive day following the communal flare-up into which the state government has ordered a judicial inquiry by a retired judge.

Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said one person was stabbed to death and another injured in Meerapur town of Muzaffarnagar district on Monday.

One person was also killed in Saharanpur, officials said, adding that a body was found in Titawi. Army staged flag marches in Shahpur, Khautauli, Purkazi, Maripur, and Shamli areas, officials said.

Under all round attack, the Akhilesh Yadav government late on Monday evening announced setting up of an inquiry commission headed by retired Justice Vishnu Sahai to probe the Muzaffarnagar violence, state Home Secretary Kamal Saxena told reporters in Lucknow.

Army patrols in Muzaffarnagar. PTI

Army patrols in Muzaffarnagar. PTI

Concerned over the incidents, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and assured him of all help from the Centre to deal with the situation.

A blame game erupted with the opposition accusing the state government of failing to act in time to prevent the violence and the ruling Samajwadi Party hitting back, saying its rivals were trying to stir up communal trouble.

The Chief Minister saw a "political conspiracy" behind the riots to destabilize his government while rivals BJP, BSP and RLD accused the SP of trying advance its political interests by polarising voters.

They demanded imposition of central rule in the state. Union Home Ministry asked the state government to send Muzaffarnagar situation report every 12 hours. It also asked the state government to deploy enough forces in rural areas in the district where violence is yet to be contained.

Seventeen FIRs have been lodged in connection with the incidents. One of the FIR is relating to the Mahapanchayat held in Sukheda village in which provocative speeches were allegedly made, leading to the violence. Centre had alerted 11 states following intelligence inputs about possible communal incidents, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

"I don't think he (Akhilesh Yadav) ignored these warnings," he said on being asked whether the Chief Minister was to blamed for the violence. In an overnight crackdown, over 200 people were arrested and 1000 persons booked, including BJP legislative party leader Hukum Singh, party MLAs Suresh Rana, Bhartendu, Sangeet Som and former Congress MP Harendra Malik for violating prohibitory orders.

Authorities cancelled 1,744 arms licenses in Bhorkala, Shahpur, Phugana and ome other areas of the district. The state government shunted out Saharanpur DIG, SSP Muzaffarnagar and SP Shamli.

Violence-hit Muzaffarnagar lies in Saharanpur range. UP Governor BL Joshi has sent a report on the Muzaffarnagar violence to the Centre, which, sources said in Lucknow, has details regarding the administrative lapses as well as the situation prevailing there.

PTI