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Sep 08, 2013 at 06:17pm IST

UP: Situation tense in Muzaffarnagar as death toll climbs to 21, curfew imposed

Muzaffarnagar: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav held an emergency meeting at Mulayam Singh Yadav's residence to work out a plan to discuss the situation in Muzaffarnagar as the death toll in the clashes climbed up to 21. Top bureaucrats, along with senior leaders of the Samajwadi party also attended the meeting.

The Army on Sunday staged a flag march in riot-hit areas of the district after clashes erupted between members of two communities. 30 people have been arrested for the violence.

ALSO SEE Army moves in after clashes in Muzaffarnagar

As a precautionary measure schools and colleges will remain closed on Monday, said DM Meerut Navdeep Rinwa.

Political parties are criticising the Akhilesh government in Uttar Pradesh for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Hitting out at the Uttar Pradesh government for the deteriorating law and order situation, RLD chief Ajit Singh demanded President's rule in the state.

ALSO SEE Akhilesh govt announces Rs 15 lakh ex-gratia for deceased journalist

"Samajwadi Party's track record in this tenure is bad. Haven't been able to control communal forces in UP. Even BSP's was better," Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said.

Curfew remained in force in Civil Lines, Kotwali and Nai Mandi areas of the district with Army carrying out a flag march in the troubled areas. Eight columns of Army has been deployed, however, the situation remains tense in Muzaffarnagar.

Meanwhile, claiming that the situation is under control in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh Law and Order ADG Arun Kumar said, "The situation is under control. Eight Army columns have been called in. Flag marches have begun. No incidents reported since last night,"

Tension has been running high in the district since three persons were killed in Kawal village on August 27. A journalist associated with IBN7 Rajesh Verma and a photographer Israr hired by police were among those killed in the violence. Nine persons killed - two in Muzaffarnagar town, three each in Bhopa police station area and Shapur area and one in Sikhera police station area.

The incident was sparked off after a huge convention of a particular community had gathered in the town on Sunday to protest against several cases of eve teasing 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. Rajesh Verma was shot dead while he was covering the arson in Muzaffarnagar town; meanwhile, Israr was beaten up and killed on the outskirts of the town.

What's clearly emerging is a dangerous pattern of communal flare-ups being witnessed across the state. As many as 22 districts across the state have been put under curfew at various times in the past one year. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is feeling the heat over deteriorating law and order situation in the state. "Strict action will be taken against the guilty," Akhilesh Yadav said.

With Additional Inputs From PTI