Akhilesh Yadav appeals for calm in Muzaffarnagar; cop suspended

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav arrived in Muzaffarnagar amidst tight security to meet the victims of communal violence.

Zee Media Bureau

Muzaffarnagar: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday visited the riot-hit district where he was greeted with black flags and slogan shouting from villagers.

Yadav first visited Kawal village, where three persons were killed on August 27 over an eveteasing incident after which tension has been running high in the district.

The CM met the father of the boy who was killed by Jat men from the neighbouring Malikpura village.

Waving black flags, the villagers shouted slogans against the "failure" of the administration in controlling the violence that has claimed 47 lives. The villagers also alleged that the Chief Minister did not receive a memorandum from them and only met `outsiders`.

"The incident was saddening..Not only for those who lost their young sons but for us also. We have already appealed for peace to everyone and my government will take strict action to deal with those creating trouble", Akhilesh told reporters.

Later, the Chief Minister left for Malikpura and Kandhla to meet family members of victims.

"I went to both the villages and met the families of Shahnawaz as well as Sachin and Gaurav. There is grief and we understand that... I appeal for calm," the 40-year-old CM said.

"We will give government jobs to those who have lost members of their family. We will also rebuild homes that have been burnt down," Yadav promised after the visit.

Meanwhile, Muzaffarnagar`s SSP during riots Subhash Dubey has been suspended for failing to control the violence.

Akhilesh`s visit comes two days after the UP CM called on Urban Development Minister Azam Khan, who came under attack from colleagues for skipping a Samajwadi Party meet in Agra. Before skipping the Agra meet, Azam Khan had expressed unhappiness over the administrative failure to check the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar.

Clashes took place last weekend after simmering discontent following the harassment of a young woman on August 27 in a village in Muzaffarnagar district.

Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav have accused rival parties of fomenting trouble in Muzaffarnagar, located about 120 km from New Delhi, and nearby areas.
Senior police officer Arun Kumar told a news agency that Muzaffarnagar, located about 130 km from New Delhi, was calm on Sunday and that curfew was relaxed during the day.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to visit Muzaffarnagar Monday.

Around 40,000 people have taken refuge in more than 30 relief camps set up in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. People at the camps said they were not sure of the security situation and were not ready to return to their hometowns.

The administration distributed medicines, food and milk packets among other essential items at the relief camps.
Special Task Force Director General Ashish Gupta said the situation in Muzaffarnagar was fast returning to normal.

So far, 11,000 people have been placed under preventive detention, while 187 have been arrested and 11 of them have cases of murder slapped against them.

The bloodletting in Muzaffarnagar led to a BJP rally scheduled to be addressed on Sunday by senior leader LK Advani in Uttar Pradesh`s Akola town being postponed to September 29.

Agra Divisional Commissioner Pradip Bhatnagar and senior district officials late Friday held a meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including local MP Ram Shankar Katheria.

The officials agreed to allow the rally on September 29 in Akola, 18 km from Agra, "if the situation in the state remains normal".

The postponement took place on Friday, a day when BJP anointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate despite opposition from Advani.

Agra District Magistrate Zuhair Bin Saghir and senior police officials have been trying to convince BJP leaders that the time was not right to hold a rally in the present circumstances when passions were running high in the aftermath of communal clashes.

In Bihar, a state which is abutting Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked the state police to use the National Security Act against anyone trying to create communal tension in the state.

A day after Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav said attempts could be made to foment communal riots in Bihar before the 2014 General Elections, Nitish Kumar ordered police to be more vigilant against communal strife.

Anti-riot squads should be properly trained to deal with such situations, he said.

Police have also decided to impart special training to anti-riot teams of the Rapid Action Force.

(With IANS inputs)