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Camp misery pains Lalu

- Pat for Rahul, hyped tag for Modi

New Delhi, Dec. 29: The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, today said he was “deeply pained and anguished” after witnessing the sufferings of thousands of Muslims at the camps in Muzaffarnagar.

The former chief minister, out on bail after being convicted in a fodder scam case, today went to four big camps at Muzaffarnagar and met hundreds of riot-affected people. He also had a word of advice for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. During a conversation with the Samajwadi Party leader over phone from the camp, Lalu warned him against “trusting his bureaucrats too much”.

“I have told him to come at the camps himself or send somebody trustworthy to analyse the ground situation. Bureaucrats sometimes present a very different picture in front of the political heads. Living conditions are tough at the camps, families of riot victims are traumatised and insecure and many people who have lost kin have not received full compensation yet,” Lalu told The Telegraph after returning to Delhi.

He said the displaced people were in shock and fear. “They are insecure and uncertain about their future. They don’t know whom to trust and most of them do not wish to return to their villages. I am deeply disturbed to see what communal forces have done to their lives and psyche. Things have drastically changed since BJP’s Amit Shah has taken charge of the party’s state affairs. Communal and fascist forces have become active and are trying to disintegrate the society which has largely remained peaceful,” Lalu said.

Considered popular among minorities, especially in Bihar, Lalu demanded that regular national and state welfare schemes be extended to riot victims.

Just as his party is set to enter into alliance with the Congress ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Lalu said those dreaming to put the Congress to flight were biggest fools. “The Congress is the oldest political party and has done so much for the country. BJP’s Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal are no match to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. It is the media, which has created the hype about Kejriwal and Modi,” he said.

The Congress vice-president had visited the camps last Sunday.

Lalu said people who had voted for Kejriwal in Delhi had made a “big mistake”.

“I wonder what has happened to democracy in this country. Kejriwal is now the chief minister because of all the demonstrations he carried out and Sheila Dikshit, who has done so much for the capital in past 15 years, has been thrown out of power. This is an unfortunate situation,” he added.

He called for secular forces to unite to prevent rise of elements that are set to break the thread of religious harmony.