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Centre sends forces when ‘UP already had CRPF men at disposal’

The Centre had sent 16 CRPF companies,or roughly 1,400 men,for the VHP’s aborted yatra.

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi |
September 10, 2013 1:44:48 am

Uttar Pradesh asked for central forces when it already had some at its disposal but which it failed to use,home ministry officials said on a day the prime minister spoke to the UP chief minister on the Muzaffarnagar violence.

The Centre had sent 16 CRPF companies,or roughly 1,400 men,for the VHP’s aborted yatra,and they have been there nearly a month,a ministry official said. The UP government has sent the ministry a report saying the communal violence was “concentrated in rural areas and state administration was unable to contain”.

UP home secretary Kamal Saksena said they have sought 50 more companies of paramilitary forces and the Centre sanctioned 28 companies by this evening.

“They asked for 18 additional companies of central forces only on Saturday night after several deaths. All these men have fanned out in rural areas now,” a home ministry officer said. Around 5,000 people are said to have been rescued from various villages by central forces till Monday.

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“On Monday,the state asked for more forces and we pulled out men from Jammu and Kashmir and are sending them. We have been asked to deploy teams in Barabanki,Kanpur,Faizabad,Saharanpur and Baghpat,” an officer said. The ministry said the government had failed to act in time despite reminders.

A senior UP police officer attributed most of the killings to the use of “licensed weapons”. He said Muzaffarnagar had the highest number of people with licensed weapons in the state and police have begun the process of suspending these. Home ministry sources,however,say illegal arms too could have been used and have sought a report from the state government.

The prime minister spoke to Akhilesh Yadav about the steps being taken,expressed grief at the loss of lives,and assured him all required assistance.

“The Prime Minister spoke to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about the steps being taken to restore peace in the areas which witnessed violence recently. He condemned the violence and expressed grief and shock over the loss of innocent lives. He assured the CM that the Centre will extend all required assistance to the state government in tacking the situation,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth and home secretary Anil Goswami have asked the state government to take strict action.

UP home secretary Saksena informed the Centre on Monday they have set up control rooms in rural areas and are getting reports every 12 hours. “We are in touch with the home ministry at least two to three times a day. So far,we have have received full cooperation from them as far as deployment of central forces is concerned,” chief secretary Jawed Usmani said.

The home ministry said they have already issued four advisories including on communal tension and also on handling processions during the upcoming festival seasons. Ministry sources alleged it was due to laxity on the part of the state government that the violence erupted. “From the ground reports,there are very disturbing trends appearing. We have asked the state to control the circulation of provocative material including posting of video on internet,” an official said.

With inputs from ENS,Lucknow

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