Violence flares again in riot-hit northern India
Police probe murder of three Muslims in Uttar Pradesh
A tense standoff exists between Hindus and Muslims in riot-hit areas of Uttar Pradesh after fresh violence reportedly claimed four more lives on Wednesday.
Senior police official Ashok Jain said on Thursday that three of the reported fatalities in Muzaffarnagar were all young Muslims. They had been shot dead.
The administration has imposed prohibitory orders in the area and top officials have been stationed there, he said.
The state government has moved additional forces into the area while anti-riot police patrolled sensitive pockets, Jain told ucanews.com.
Clashes between Hindus and Muslims first erupted in Muzaffarnagar on August 27 and 28 after the killing of three youths in Kaval village. It flared again a week later, killing 63 people and displacing some 50,000.
"The situation is tense but under control," a federal Home Ministry official said, adding that bodies of three lynched men have been returned to their families after a postmortem. A fourth victim, a woman, has also reportedly died in the violence.
"Investigations are still ongoing, it cannot be confirmed yet whether it [the deaths of the three men] was a petty crime or communal violence," the official said, quoting police reports from the state government.
State police sources said locals in the area claimed the three victims had gone out to collect fodder when residents of nearby Muhammadpur Raisingh village allegedly "kidnapped and killed them."
The opposition BJP has condemned the violence.
“The situation is very worrisome,” said BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar. “It is all due to state government lapses and a policy of minority appeasement. Since the socialist Samajwadi Party came to power ... in March 2012, there have been over 100 riots. Not a single real culprit has been nabbed.”
Shailendra Kumar of the Samajwadi Party rejected the claims and instead accused the BJP and other "communal forces" of spreading violence.
"The state police have acted quickly. Eight persons have been arrested and cases registered against 15 people," Kumar told ucanews.com.
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