29 riot victims found staying in a graveyard

Even as the Samajwadi Party government faces criticism for vacating relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts, cases have been filed against 103 persons — including riot victims — for illegal occupation of government land in the two districts. These riot victims were forced to leave their villages and seek refuge elsewhere in the aftermath of the communal violence in September last year.

These 103 persons have been named in four cases filed by government functionaries in November and December 2013, according to State IG (Law and Order) Amrendra Kumar Sengar on Friday.

He told journalists that in Shamli, the first FIR was lodged on November 29, 2013 by a forest guard, Gulab Singh, at the Jhinjhana police station against three persons — Afsar, Ahmed and Shaukat — for illegally occupying forest land near Rotan village. The IG said some constructions were also made on the forest land.

Mr. Sengar said that following an investigation by the police, 27 others were also named in the FIR.

Another case was filed at the Jhinjhana police station on December 31, 2013, by a Revenue Department functionary, Om Pal Sharma, against a Nawab and 22 others for illegal occupation of government land in Mansura in Shamli district.

In Muzaffarnagar district, a case was lodged in Shahpur by the lekhpal (revenue official) of Harsauli on November 18, 2013. The IG said investigation revealed that 18 persons had occupied government land. Another case in Muzaffarnagar district was lodged at Shahpur by the lekhpal of Sanjhak against 29 persons on similar charges, Mr. Sengar added. These 29 riot victims had positioned themselves in a qabristan (graveyard) in Shahpur.

On whether any arrest was made and whether those occupying government land were evicted, the IG (Law and Order) said details were being gathered.