Muzaffarnagar: As they limp back from the bloodshed and destruction, residents of the riot-hit areas of the district are now grappling with a kind of fear psychosis which suggests that the psychological wounds of the communal violence may take longer to heal than the physical ones.
"The mistrust between the two communities has widened due to communal clashes and it will take some time for normal relations to be restored," said Vikash Kumar, a resident of Anand Vihar locality.
Army and police personnel are keeping a constant vigil and the eyes of the country are on the district, but that has not prevented a sense of insecurity from seeping into the minds of the residents here.
Although the curfew is in place during the hours of darkness, locals find strength in numbers, huddling together in small groups in front of their houses.
Women, youngsters and even children gather in groups to keep watch and assist their parents maintain a vigil.
The night-vigil starts at around 10 P.M. and remains in place till the break of dawn.
"A fear psychosis has gripped the people... They are not feeling safe even with the police and Army around," said Bhupendra Singh, a resident of Rishav Vihar.
The fear is palpable in other localities as well.
"We have been putting people on night vigil on a rotation basis," said Haji Saeed of Shahpur village.
"Around 1,500 people from other villages have taken refuge in Shahpur... Their safety and security is also our responsibility," he added.
SSP Praveen Kumar admitted that fear had gripped the minds of the people in the district but added that police was sparing no effort to restore normalcy.