Muzaffarnagar: The Congress on Tuesday demanded Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's resignation over Muzaffarnagar riots. While launching an attack on the Samajwadi Party and BJP, Congress UP-incharge Madhusudan Mistry said that the BJP and SP have conspired to ignite this riot. "We are seeing a repeat of Gujarat here" Mistry said.
Union Minster Jitin Prasada also hit out at the SP government, saying that Akhikesh Yadav has shown his incompetence and he must step down. He said that Akhikesh government could make Durga Shakti Nagpal an issue but couldn't control the situation in Muzaffarnagar. "It's not about the Muslim vote bank, it's about the lack of governance," Prasada said.
He said that the Congress is not concerned about losing the support of the SP government at the Centre. "We are not bothered about the SP's support at Centre. We aren't getting closer to BSP. They too had made mistakes when they were in power," he added.
However, SP Chief Mulayam Singh applauded the UP administration over the manner in which it has controlled the riots in the state. He said, "The state government was completely alert. The administration controlled the riots in two days time. The security forces and administration acted sensitively."
Promising strong action against those responsible for the riots, Akhilesh Yadav said that the situation is under control with no fresh incidents of violence having been reported. "We will rehabilitate those affected by riots. The situation is under contol. There has been no incident since last night. Arrests are still being made. A total of 162 people have been arrested and 32 are confirmed dead," Yadav said.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh has risen to 38 on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, BJP MLA Som Sangeet was booked for uploading a fake video that incited communal tensions in Muzaffarnagar district and nearby areas of Uttar Pradesh. Officials had said it was the fake video which led to tensions and incited violence between the two communities.
"People are trying to spread rumours to disturb communal harmony through social media and using fake videos to disturb communal harmony in the state. Strict action will be taken against them," said UP Home Secretary Kamal Saxena.
Curfew was relaxed in Muzaffarnagar for two hours from 3.30 pm on Tuesday. The Army and RAF are patrolling the area. Police have filed a case against over 1,000 people and over 160 have been arrested. A FIR is also filed against four BJP MLAs and a former Congress MP.
The clashes sparked off after a huge convention of a particular community had gathered in the town on Sunday to protest against several cases of sexual harassment reported in the past couple of weeks. According to local police some participants in this convention got into a fight with villagers on the outskirts of Muzaffarnagar. As this group got into town, some of those who had been beaten up started ransacking shops.
IBN7 journalist Rajesh Verma was shot dead while he was covering the arson in Muzaffarnagar town. Muzaffarnagar riots are not an isolated incident. As many as 22 districts across the state have been put under curfew at various times in the past one year.