Uttar Pradesh riot victims demand speedy justice

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) A group of victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh and Muslim religious leaders from 14 states Wednesday demanded speedy justice and adequate compensation.

At a demonstration organised by the All India Imams Council, the victims shared their tales of horror with the heads of their community who in turn promised them cooperation and succour.

"My father and I were in our mosque when we were attacked by a dozen men. They slashed our hands and legs but we were lucky enough to escape," said Abdul Sattar, 45, of Baghpat.

Sattar has vowed never to return home. "We are afraid we will never return home," he said.

Describing the living condition in the relief camps set up by the government to shelter the thousands who fled their homes after the riots, Sattar spoke of lack of cleanliness, proper food or drinking water.

All India Imams Council national president Usman Baig promised the victims "full cooperation and any kind of assistance".

"We've set up four teams for fact-finding, relief, surveying losses and (to provide) legal help to the victims," Baig said.

"The UP (Uttar Pradesh) government failed to protect the people. The SP (Samajwadi Party) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were hand-in-glove in disturbing the communal harmony," he said.

The riots claimed 48 lives and rendered more than 43,000 people homeless in Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring areas.

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