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As normality returns to Muzaffarnagar, police fear fresh trouble

Atiq Khan
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Fake video clips on August 27 incident at Kawal are freely circulated in the other western districts

People wade through water, after heavy rains lashed the violence-hit Muzaffarnagar, when curfew was relaxed on Thursday.— PHOTO: PTI
People wade through water, after heavy rains lashed the violence-hit Muzaffarnagar, when curfew was relaxed on Thursday.— PHOTO: PTI

Even as fake video clips and compact discs on the August 27 incident at Kawal in Muzaffarnagar district are being freely circulated in the other western districts of Uttar Pradesh, almost a week after the riots, the State government has appealed to the people not to believe false information.

The appeal was published in the name of the Director-General of Police in leading dailies on Thursday.

Police investigations revealed that the fake video clips, which showed two boys, Gaurav and Sachin, being lynched, allegedly by Muslims at Kawal, fanned communal passions, sparking violence. The police said the video was not related to any incident in Muzaffarnagar district; it was recorded in 2010 in a north-western district in Pakistan and was morphed by anti-social elements here.

Inspector-General of Police (Crime) Ashish Gupta said another advertisement would be published on Friday. It would announce a reward for anyone giving information about persons who had distributed the fake video clips and CDs. “A reward of Rs. 1 lakh will be given to them and their identity will be kept secret,” he said. Information can be given by dialling 09454401826, the number of the Special Task Force. Even as the police acted belatedly to curb rumour-mongering, Sangeet Singh Som, BJP MLA from Sardhana in Meerut district, is yet to be arrested. The MLA and 200 others have been named in the First Information Report filed by the police when the fake video surfaced on YouTube on August 29, two days after the Kawal incident. Mr. Som has been charged with sharing the information with others. He has also been named in the FIR related to the Jatmahapanchayat held in Muzaffarnagar on September 7. Three other BJP MLAs have also been named in the FIR. “The CD of the mahapanchayat is being examined,” Mr. Gupta said.

Though the video was blocked on YouTube on August 30, spurious information was passed on mobile phones through WhatsApp, a cross-platform mobile messaging application, in Baghpat, Meerut, Saharanpur, Shamli and Bijnor districts of western Uttar Pradesh. The police believe these may have found their way into the communally sensitive districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, curfew in Muzaffarnagar was relaxed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday as normality returned gradually. The death toll has gone up to 43, with 38 killed in Muzaffarnagar, three in Baghpat and one each in Saharanpur and Meerut. About 1,700 have been arrested under Section 151 of the Cr. PC.

Home Secretary Kamal Saksena said Rs.3.1 crore was given in compensation to the kin of the 25 persons killed and the 25 injured. Information about five persons missing in Muzaffarnagar and one in Saharanpur was received at the control room in Meerut. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and a delegation of 12 BJP MLAs, led by senior leader Kalraj Mishra, were stopped from visiting Muzaffarnagar.


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