The administrations of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts have closed down 43 camps within a fortnight of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asking the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure safe return of riot-hit people to their homes.
Altogether 257 families are still staying in
two camps at Barnavi and Malakpur villages in Shamli. The Uttar Pradesh government in November 2013 had informed the Supreme Court that out of 50,955 people who had taken shelter in the camps, 41,000 had returned home.
District officials are leaving no stone unturned to close all the relief camps following fresh instructions by the state government. But, the families still residing in the camps are reportedly concerned about their safety.
Violence had erupted in Muzaffarnagar on August 27, 2013, after the killing of three youths at Kaval village. It flared up on September 7 after a clash between two communities following a mahapanchayat (meeting of village councils) convened over the killings, and spread to adjoining areas. According to official statistics, 61 people died in the riots.
After Gandhi's second visit to the camps on December 22, the Akhilesh Yadav-led UP government expedited the process of vacating the camps.
District officials cleared 41 relief camps in Muzaffarnagar. The focus then shifted to four operational camps at Kandhla, Taimursha, Barnavi and Malakpur villages in Shamli.
"People have vacated the Kandhla camp, while the Taimurshah camp is being vacated," said Pratap Singh Bhadauria, additional district magistrate of Shamli.
The administration is trying to convince people in the Barnavi and Malakpur camps to return, he added. At present, 69 families are staying in the Barnavi camp and 188 families in the Malakpur relief camp.
"We have sent the list of those staying in camps to the officials of their respective districts," Bhadauria said, adding that it was found some people had no genuine reason for stay in the camps.
Earlier, a survey had found about 169 people - not affected by the August-September communal violence - were staying in a relief camp in Muzaffarnagar.
Bhadauria said security concerns of those who have agreed to return had been taken care of and they were being provided a ration kit to meet their food demand for at least for 15 days. "We have assured them of security and providing them food for a few days."
A section of officials, however, admitted that people are still worried about their security as many of the people accused of instigating riots were not arrested.
"We have assured them of justice, but majority of the riot victims are still concerned about the security of their families," an official said.
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