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Curfew relaxed in Muzaffarnagar, fresh clashes erupt in Baghpat

With the situation showing improvement, curfew was relaxed for five hours on Wednesday in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar while Baghpat witnessed a communal clash, leaving a constable injured.

District magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said the situation in Muzaffarnagar was under control and no untoward incident was reported during the day.

‘Curfew was relaxed from 12 noon till 4pm and later extended till 5pm in Kotwali, Civil Lines and Nai Mandi areas of the district,’ IG (special task force) Ashish Gupta told reporters in Lucknow.

Two communities clashed in Tirthal village in Baghpat during which stones were pelted at each other. A constable sustained head injuries, Gupta said.

Gupta said the situation Tirthal village was brought under control promptly by the police after taking both the communities into confidence. Around 30 people were arrested.

Describing the situation as tense but under control, the IG said that police and administration was working towards confidence building measures establishing dialogue with members of both the communities.

‘There is still apprehension especially in villages where one of the communities is in minority,’ he said.

The administration is taking steps to quell fears among people and has been asking them not to believe in them or the videos and CDs being attributed to the Muzaffarnagar incident.

The IG said that with information of missing persons pouring in, people have been asked to report it in every district to the police besides a special phone number has been created in Meerut IG’s office for the purpose.

The official said so far 1,500 people have been arrested, 2,000 arm licences cancelled and 10,000 persons bound down since the outbreak of violence.

While NSA has been invoked against seven people, the process with regard to others was underway, the IG said, adding that NSA was also proposed to be invoked on those who had given inflammatory speech in the Panchayat on Saturday last besides those who loaded the video clipping which escalated tension.

Strict vigil was being maintained during the relaxation period and police and paramilitary forces are on high alert, Sharma said.

The administration had imposed curfew in Kotwali, Civil Lines and Nai Mandi areas of the district on Saturday last following the communal flare up. On Tuesday, curfew was relaxed for two-and-a-half in these areas.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will on Thursday hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into the communal clash in Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh that has claimed at least 38 lives. Seeking the probe into the ‘whole incident of mass genocide’, the nine petitioners sought ‘proper and adequate rehabilitation’, including temporary shelter, for nearly 20,000 victims.
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