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Army stages flag march, toll reaches 12
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MUZAFFARNAGAR, Sep 8 (Agencies): Army today staged a flag march in riot-hit areas of Muzaffarnagar district where the toll in clashes between members of two communities rose to 12 even as 30 persons have been arrested for the violence.

Curfew remained in force in Civil Lines, Kotwali and Nai Mandi areas of the district with Army carrying out a flag march in the troubled areas. Five companies of PAC and as many of RAF and police have also been deployed.

"Twelve people have been killed in the clashes and the toll is expected to rise as some people are missing. Police is searching for them," District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said.

The bodies of two persons were recovered from Bhopa Police Station area this morning and one from Chapar Police station.

Arun Kumar, ADG, Law and Order said the "Situation is totally under control. No unlawful incident has been reported so far since last night. Army has been deployed, they have started with a flag march".

"Since last night we have arrested around 30 persons and we hope the situation will remain under control," he said, adding the District Magistrate and the SP have been given special instructions to deal with the situation with "soft hands".

Tension has been running high in the district since three persons were killed in Kawal village on August 27.

Yesterday, nine persons, including a TV channel journalist, were killed and 34 injured in clashes.

IBN7 channel's part-time correspondent Rajesh Verma and a photographer hired by police, Israr, were among those killed in the violence.

Yesterday's violence curred as a meeting was being held in Naglabadhod in defiance of prohibitory orders to demand withdrawal of cases registered in connection with August 27 violence in Kawal.

Giving details about the clashes in the district, Kumar said, "There was an incident in a village of Muzaffarngar two days ago and a fake video related to murder of two persons in a village was uploaded on the Internet.

"We blocked that particular video but unfortunately the CDS were circulated in the village. One particular community gave call for mahapanchayat and created law and order situation.

"When people started coming from villages, communal clashes took place at two places. When the tension was visible, people were asked to disperse. While they were dispersing, there was political violence in the district," Kumar said.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had yesterday said that those behind the clashes will not be spared.

He said senior officials, both in Muzaffarnagar and Lucknow, are working to restore peace and are keeping a vigil on the situation there.

The Uttar Pradesh Government had yesterday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh to the kin of the TV journalist and Rs 10 lakh to the family of others who were killed in clashes between members of two communities in Muzaffarnagar.

SP leader Ram Asrey Kushwaha said the situation will soon be brought under control in the district.

"Our government has ordered for a probe in the case and against those who are involved in the violence," he said.

BJP Spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh said the violence shows that there has been a "complete failure on part of the SP government in maintaining peace and harmony in the state".

This is not the first time that such violence has taken place in Muzaffarnagar, he said.

"According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, prior to this incident, there have been 34-35 communal clashes...All they want is to conduct the election in UP in a communal environment so that they can galvanise the votebank.

"Such a situation has arrived that even the army has to deployed to maintain law and order. It shows the complete failure on part of the SP government in maintaining peace and harmony in the state," he charged.

News Updated at : Sunday, September 8, 2013
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