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Muzaffarnagar calm, death toll touches 35
Tuesday September 10, 2013 9:28 PM, IANS

No untoward incident was reported from Muzaffarnagar Tuesday as 975 people were arrested for their "direct or indirect" role in the communal violence that has left 35 dead.

Officials said the situation was tense but under control. Curfew was relaxed for an hour to allow people to shop for essential items. The district administration cancelled 1,820 arm licences.

Meanwhile, motorbike-borne assailants shot at a fruit vendor in neighbouring Saharanpur. His condition was stated to be stable, an official told IANS.

The National Security Act was slapped on five people in Baghpat and Saharanpur, home department officials informed.

The state government Tuesday removed the station house officers of Meerapur and Bharkhala for being callous and unable to control the rioting. Home secretary Kamal Saxena, however, clarified that rioting had not led to any death in Shamli. He added the killing of a man there Monday was out of animosity.

The maximum deaths (32) have occurred in Muzaffarnagar. While 67 persons have been injured there, six have been admitted to hospitals with injuries in Saharanpur and seven in Baghpat.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav appealed for calm and said lawlessness would not be tolerated under any condition.

Talking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Yadav told reporters stringent action would be taken against people who take law in their hands and try to vitiate the atmosphere in the state.

Religious leaders from across the country Tuesday also appealed to the people to maintain calm and restrain from getting swayed by feelings of revenge.

"We appeal to the people to stay calm and restrain from getting swayed by feelings of revenge. Do not get carried away by rumours," the leaders led by Art of Living founder Ravi Shankar said in a statement here.

Others who made the appeal are Chidanand Saraswati, spiritual head of Parmarth Niketan ashram at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, and Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, chief imam of India.

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav blamed communal forces for the riots and added it had now taken a casteist colour. "That is the reason it has spread to the rural areas," he said.

He expressed satisfaction at the response and the follow-up acts of the Akhilesh Yadav government in the state. "Within two days, the riots have been contained and order restored," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday announced compensation of Rs.200,000 to the kin of each of those killed in the communal clashes. He also expressed deep anguish over the loss of lives.

Apart from relief to the kin of those killed, Rs.50,000 has been sanctioned to each to the seriously injured people from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday reiterated its demand for imposition of President's rule in the state, saying the state government has failed to provide security to people in the clash-hit Muzaffarnagar district.

"People are not feeling safe in the state. The president must immediately dismiss the state government as it is incapable of providing security to people," said former BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

Schools continued to be closed for the second consecutive day Tuesday.

The state home department has clamped a ban on all forms of mass gatherings like "mahapanchayat" in the entire state.

Violence began when some people pelted stones at a bus carrying people to a "mahapanchayat" where elders of two religious groups were meeting to sort out the simmering tension between them ever since three youth were killed Aug 27 in an incident of stalking of a girl.

Security was beefed up on trains bound for western Uttar Pradesh and others crossing the region after some people hurled stones at trains in Shamli Monday evening.

Director General of Government Railway Police Rizwan Ahmad said the forces were on alert and additional deployment was being done on trains that pass through the violence-ravaged areas.

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