Muzaffarnagar returns to normalcy; Army begins leaving
Zee Media Bureau
Muzaffarnagar: A day after curfew was lifted completely from Muzaffarnagar town in Uttar Pradesh, soldiers on Tuesday started pulling out of the riot-hit area after being deployed there for the last one week following communal violence.
"There is absolute calm and the district administration and police are in complete control of the situation. Hence the army is being withdrawn," Additional Director General of Police Arun Kumar told a news agency.
"The process will be completed today," he added.
Twenty-eight units of the Army were requisitioned to assist the district administration after communal clashes erupted in Muzaffarnagar city, about 130 km from New Delhi, and the adjoining rural areas.
The violence had forced the authorities to deploy the military for the first time in over two decades to quell communal clashes.
Police officer Kumar said it was time for the Army to withdraw.
Informed sources said that while it was decided earlier to pull out the Army in phases, it was later felt that this would "unnecessarily create an atmosphere of tension".
"Hence, a decision was taken at the political level, paving way for the (full) pullout."
District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said the administration`s focus was now to rehabilitate the people who fled their homes and have taken refuge in makeshift centres.
Officials will also distribute the financial compensation sanctioned by the state government for the riot victims.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Ashok Mutha Jain said special teams had been formed to catch people booked for their involvement in the riots.
Police said door-to-doors checks were still on in rural areas to nab the culprits and to seize weapons.
Normalcy is returning to the violence-ravaged Muzaffarnagar, where at least 48 people were killed and over 43,000 displaced in the communal riots that continued for over four days. The displaced have taken refuge in the 38 relief camps set up by the state government, and many have refused to go back home.
In Wasi Kalan village where an Islamic seminary has been converted into a relief camp, refugees told Manmohan Singh and Gandhi that they had little faith in the state government.
According to them, police were mute spectators when they were attacked and their houses burnt.
As a matter of abundant caution, time limits have been set on opening of markets and liquor vends and they have been asked to down shutters by 7 pm.
The state government had clamped the curfew in the area after violence erupted on September 07.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visited the affected areas on Sunday, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi made a visit to the area on Monday.
(With IANS inputs)
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