Politicians accused of aiding Indian riots
Weekend death toll in Uttar Pradesh nears 30
Riot police deployed in Muzaffarnagar district
- Swati Deb, New Delhi
- September 9, 2013
Police have arrested at least 90 people in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh and accused five politicians of aiding riots between Hindus and Muslims that have killed dozens since the weekend.
The army in the state’s riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district staged a flag march on Sunday even as a curfew remained in force, but federal officials said tensions were easing. At least 28 deaths have been reported since Saturday.
"The situation is now reported to be under control. The Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has also spoken to the state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav," the junior Home Minister RPN Singh told ucanews.com.
Singh said the federal government has asked the state to take steps to control the situation and has been helping it with army assistance.
Four legislators of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a ruling Congress Party politician have been accused by police of aiding the riots, but no arrest has been made so far.
Hukum Singh, one of the accused BJP leaders, claimed that police failure was the cause of violence. "I have been named in a false charge. I challenge the state government to spell out what I did or said to instigate the rioters," he said.
Indian politicians have accused each other of engineering the riots along faith and community divisions for political gains, especially as the 2014 elections loom.
As the accusations fly, the BJP and other parties have called for the dismissal of the Uttar Pradesh state government, run by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.
"This government has failed rather deliberately. They want to polarize the situation to garner Muslim votes for political benefits," BJP spokesman Siddhart Singh said.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in turn accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to inflame tensions with the Samajwadi Party.
Tension has been running high in the Muzaffarnagar area after three people were killed in Kawal village last week. On Saturday nine people, including a television journalist, were killed and 34 injured in clashes.
The state police said a 'fake video' purporting to relate to the murder of two people in a village was uploaded to the internet.
Although the video was blocked, DVDs were circulated in the village. The riot began when a group attacked a community meeting aimed at finding a solution to the problem.