Muzaffarnagar riots leave 43,000 homeless

Muzaffarnagar, Sep 13 (IANS) Violence-hit Muzaffarnagar was calm for the fourth day Friday, with Uttar Pradesh officials saying that the three days of violence had left over 43,000 people homeless.

And with the town and its surrounding areas inching towards its old self, cautious authorities Friday relaxed curfew for 12 hours -- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

An official told IANS that the night curfew would be in place till the weekend.

"Once the situation becomes normal, we will completely lift the curfew," said a senior police official.

District authorities say more than 43,000 people who fled their homes, primarily from surrounding villages, are being sheltered in the 38 relief camps hurriedly set up in the district.

The Uttar Pradesh government has sanctioned funds for financial compensation to the injured, riot-affected and ex-gratia for the next of kin of the 43 people officially listed as killed in the violence.

An official said Rs.3.1 crore had been distributed to riot victims thus far.

Recovery of arms and cancellation of arms licenses continued, with 300 more revoked till late Thursday.

Home department officials said the police were trying to zero in on people who "electronically distributed" a fake video clip that aggravated the violence after Sep 7.

As many as 70 people have been named in different first information reports (FIRs) but none has been arrested.

Over 10,000 people continued to be under preventive detention. Police have confiscated a large amount of ammunition, including AK-47 cartridges.

The violence erupted last weekend after simmering discontent following the harassment of a young woman Aug 27 in a village Muzaffarnagar district.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav have accused rival parties of triggering trouble in Muzaffarnagar, a bustling city 130 km from New Delhi, and nearby areas.

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