Sept. 9: Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today hinted that the Akhilesh Yadav government hadn’t done enough to prevent the Muzaffarnagar violence despite warnings, while Uttar Pradesh governor B.L. Joshi is believed to have sent him a report that echoes the charge.
Many expressed fears of an escalation amid suspicion over the role being played by elements in some political parties.
National Commission for Minorities chief Wajahat Habibullah said the “horrific incidents” in Muzaffarnagar were the worst example of “polarisation of voters on communal lines” ahead of the general elections.
On a day the death toll rose by five to 31, police claimed the situation was largely under control though minor clashes were continuing.
The Union home ministry, which had sent several advisories to the state government this year amid a spate in communal violence, broke its silence today.
“I had talked to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh that tension is rising and you have to be alert. He said that he would make arrangements. However, this incident has taken place,” Shinde said.
Governor Joshi sent a report on the clashes to the Centre that the state home secretary described as “routine” but which, sources said, accuses the Samajwadi Party government of doing too little too late.
The governor’s assessment of the situation in western Uttar Pradesh is based not just on the current two-week-old violence but on the entire year’s record, sources said. The heartland state accounts for about 100 of the 451 incidents of communal violence recorded in the country this year (up from 410 last year).
Some 80 communal clashes were reported in Uttar Pradesh between January 1 and August 31, and another 20 this month, the combined death toll being 40. The ongoing violence has spread to the rural areas of neighbouring Shamli district and also touched Meerut and Baghpat.
Firearms, including automatic weapons, are being seen with greater frequency in the hands of civilians in western Uttar Pradesh villages. Sources said AK-47s were used in this weekend’s clashes. State police sources said they had cancelled over 1,000 firearms licences in the region.
A minority panel team will visit the trouble zone, Habibullah said. “Political parties have stooped so low that they are resorting to the politics of communal polarisation by indulging in mindless violence,” he said.
“We have asked the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to take appropriate action so that the violence does not spread.”
He added: “The (minority) commission is looking into the matter and will take necessary action. The local administration needs to act stringently on those inciting people.”
Habibullah advocated the formation of “small committees in villages” to stem the killings.
About 250 people have been arrested for taking part in the clashes or flouting the ban on pubic assembly. At least three senior police officers have been transferred.
The deployment of central forces will continue in the state. The forces now deployed in the affected areas include nine companies from the army (one company has around 125 personnel), five from the Rapid Action Force, seven from the CRPF and 19 from the Provincial Armed Constabulary besides the local police.
Army sources said nine columns (with 80 to 100 soldiers each) were patrolling Purkazi, Phugana, Shahpur, Khatauli, Miranpur and Morna — all near Muzaffarnagar town — and one was at Kairana in Shamli. One column that had been posted in Meerut has been withdrawn.
DAY OF RELATIVE CALM
Monday’s developments relating to the clashes in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Uttar Pradesh
|Soldiers on a confidence-building patrol in Muzaffarnagar on Monday. (AFP)
Total deaths 31
Situation Largely under control though minor clashes continuing,
Security Army and paramilitary
patrol the area. Centre says it has sent 5,000 paramilitary troops
PM call Manmohan Singh
condemns the violence and
speaks to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, assuring him all help
Shinde rap Union home minister Sushil Shinde says he had told Akhilesh of the rising tensions
and asked him to be alert, yet“this incident has taken place”
Probe State govt appoints
commission of inquiry headed by
retired judge Vishnu Sahay to probe the violence, its cause and the role
of individuals and organisations and recommend preventive measures
for the future. The deadline is two months
Governor Governor B.L. Joshi sends a report to the Union home ministry pointing out lapses by
the state government
Transfers Saharanpur deputy
inspector-general of police
D.D. Mishra (the regional police head), superintendents of police Subhas Dube (Muzaffarnagar)
and Abdul Hamid (Shamli), and
the station house officer of trouble hotspot Phugana, Om Veer
Arrests 250 held over violence
and violation of prohibitory orders
Arms licences Police cancel
over 1,000 arms licences in
Phugana, Shahpur and Dhaurakalan areas of Muzaffarnagar
Curfew Continues in riot-hit
areas of Muzaffarnagar
Entry bar Muzaffarnagar
district administration bans
entry of political leaders
Shutdown Schools and colleges closed for a week in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. Markets and offices shut, streets deserted