Fourteen more people were killed in UP’s Muzaffarnagar on Sunday, taking the toll from two days of deadly communal clashes to 27. Unofficial sources, however, put the figure much higher.
The state government gave shoot-at-sight orders as the violence, fuelled by rumours, spread to the rural areas. The army, called in on Saturday, staged a flag march and took over law and order responsibilities in the district, inspector general Brij Bhushan said.
• Muzaffarnagar riots: Army focus on rural areas, nearly 300 persons rescued from violence-hit villages in overnight operations
• Little traffic on NH-58, security personnel deployed at toll plaza
Army personnel were moved into riot-affected Meerut and Shamli districts too.
Late at night, the violence spread to Baghpat district where one person was killed.
An army column sent to evacuate people trapped in several affected villages also came under attack. Home secretary Kamal Saxena said the jawans managed to get the people out safely.
Reports of lynching, arson, stone-pelting and damage to property poured in through the day. As curfew continued, police arrested 30 people on charges of inciting violence.
Communal tensions — simmering in Muzaffarnagar since August 27, when a sexual harassment incident led to clashes and three deaths — resurfaced on
Saturday after a mahapanchayat on the issue. Thirteen people were killed in the violence.
On Sunday, shops stayed shut and people had to make do without essentials such as milk, bread and vegetables. Additional troops of the paramilitary forces, Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary were deployed in affected areas.
In the face of Opposition criticism, the ruling Samajwadi Party held a meeting with party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav discussing the situation with ministers.
The Centre sought a report from the state and directed it to take strong action. Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde spoke to the CM on Saturday, sources said.
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Graphic: UP's major communal violence incidents in 2013