Two more bodies found in Muzaffarnagar, riots toll 32

Lucknow, Sep 10 (IANS) The deaths in the sectarian violence that erupted over the weekend in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district climbed to 32 Tuesday, with two more bodies recovered, police officials said.

No violence, except stray incidents of stone pelting in rural areas, was reported overnight, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar told IANS.

Violence began when some people pelted stones at a bus carrying people to a "mahapanchayat" where elders of two religious groups were meeting to sort out the simmering tension between them ever since three youth were killed Aug 27 in an incident of stalking of a girl.

Security was beefed up on trains bound for western Uttar Pradesh and others crossing the region after some people hurled stones at trains in Shamli Monday evening.

Director General (DG) of Government Railway Police (GRP) Rizwan Ahmad said the forces were on alert and additional deployment was being done on trains that pass through the violence-ravaged areas.

The GRP also have moved in to protect the trains and have asked passengers to close all doors and shutter windows while passing through the trouble-hit areas.

A GRP official said the responsibility of closing the train coaches has been given to GRP troopers. Every coach would now have two GRP troopers on board, officials said.

A high alert has been sounded on trains bound for Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Moradabad, a railway official added.

Curfew in Muzaffarnagar district has not been relaxed, and schools have continued to be closed for the second consecutive day Tuesday.

The state home department has clamped a ban on all forms of mass gatherings like "mahapanchayat" in the entire state. It was after such a mahapanchayat that violence broke out in Muzaffarnagar district Saturday.

Principal Secretary (Home) R.M. Srivastava said instructions banning mahapanchayats have been sent to district officials across the state.