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UP govt’s cold shoulder for violence victims continues

In the riot-hit district’s Loi camp, over 500 km from state capital Lucknow, people allegedly managing the camp pulled out temporary shelters and dug up the surface forcing hundreds of families to brave bitter cold in the open.

‘We have been asked to leave. Where do we go with our children? The village pradhan (head) and the sub-divisional magistrate both have parked their vehicles in the camps. They got 150 tents removed,’ Parveen, a resident at Loi camp, said.

More than three months after the communal violence that killed over 60 people, thousands are still stranded in relief camps across the two districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

That the victims are forced to live in inhuman conditions and have not been able to return home has been a major talking point, with opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Prasad, visiting the camps and slamming the state government for its inaction.

In neighbouring Shamli district, a senior police official visited Malakpur camp on Sunday and asked the victims from his district to return home.

‘There are some people who have agreed while some others are resisting. We take a guarantee of their safety,’ Sunil Kumar, Baghpat’s superintendent of police, said.

People in the camps believe the Akhilesh Yadav government has facilitated the process of evicting people from the relief camps because of the bad press they have been inviting for the state government.

‘We want people to return. We don’t want to force anyone to leave,’ Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters on Sunday.

Yadav is already under fire for holding a two-week carnival in his village attended by Bollywood and TV stars even as justice and rehabilitation eludes Muzaffarnagar victims.

Not only SP leadership, even the BSP leaders are least bothered about the plight of riot victims. The BSP camp in busy in preparations for its chief Mayawati’s birthday on 15 January.

In the BSP camp, its 21 MPs, 80 MLAs and 54 MLCs are getting ready to finance their chief’s birthday gift — a mega rally at Ramabai Ambedkar ground in Lucknow.

Each MP has been told to contribute Rs. 5 lakh while MLAs and MLCs will donate Rs. 2 lakh each. Senior BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui passed the instructions recently. Thereafter, no BSP leader is ready to talk on record about the rally kitty.

On Monday, Mayawati reviewed the preparation for the rally. She also lashed out at the SP government for evicting riot victims from camps.
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