About 245 arrested so far for India riots

Riots in Uttar Pradesh state’s Muzaffarnagar have sparked controversy over treatment meted out to mainly Muslim victims.

Media reports have indicated that thousands of riot victims, mainly Muslims, have fled their homes for safety [EPA]

About 245 people have been arrested so far for the riots between Hindus and Muslims in September that left more than 60 people dead and displaced thousands in Muzaffarnagar district of northern Uttar Pradesh state.

A special investigation team of the police on Monday said of the 300 against whom arrest warrants were issued, 245 had been arrested.

Reports quoting senior Muzaffarnagar police official HN Singh said that the police had completed investigations in at least 10 specific cases of rioting in several villages around Muzaffarnagar.

In all, the special police team is investigating 571 cases, most of it in Muzaffarnagar. At least 6,000 people are suspected to be involved in the riots, among the worst in recent years.

Muzaffarnagar, meanwhile, has turned out to be a hot potato for the ruling Samawadi party in Uttar Pradesh.

Several media reports have indicated that thousands of riot survivors, predominantly Muslims, have fled their homes out of fear of the perpetrators. There have also been reports of at least 34 children dying of cold in the tents that house the riot victims, who are veritable internal refugees.

Instead of attempting to redress the conditions faced by the riot survivors, the Samajwadi party has accused rivals Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party of filling the temporary camps with their supports and making false claims of suffering.

While this has caused an uproar, what has left the intelligentsia aghast is the latest action of the Samajwadi party-led government to forcibly evict the riot victims from their tents.

The Aligarh Muslim University Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) has condemned the Uttar Pradesh government for forcibly evicting riot victims from the relief camps and slapping a false case of encroaching on government land against them, reports said.

AMUTA honorary secretary Aftab Alam was quoted as saying that instead of ensuring adequate rehabilitation to the victims living in extreme cold the state government was using force to evict the families.

The riots which started on August 27 this year between the Hindu and Muslim communities have been variously described as the worst in recent memory in Uttar Pradesh. The army had to be called in to control the rioting.

Source: Al Jazeera