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Uttar Pradesh government should reopen Muzaffarnagar relief camps, says think tank

Friday, 6 December 2013 - 8:40pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS

The Uttar Pradesh government was on Friday told to reopen relief camps meant for Muzaffarnagar communal violence victims and reconsider giving Rs5 lakh to those not wishing to return.

According to a fact-finding report by the Centre for Policy Analysis, a private think tank, the relief camps opened since the riots broke out three months ago should remain functional with all basic facilities. The state government recently closed them.

"The relief camps have been disbanded," said Seema Mustafa and Harsh Mander, part of the fact-finding team which visited the riot-hit area.

The report also urged the state government to reconsider its policy of giving one-time compensation of Rs5 lakh to those who undertake not to return to their villages.

"This will not help restore normalcy as it would create permanent divide in the society and lead to ghettos," said Mustafa.

The activists demanded strong action against those responsible for the violence and who spread hatred.

"The state government is not doing enough to restore confidence among the displaced people," said Mander.

"The law enforcement agencies should take strong action where victims are being intimidated and told not to return home," said Sukumar Muralidharan, another team member.

According to the team, the state government should issue a clear report on the falsehoods that led to the first violence, including unfound harassment of women and the so-called "love-jihad".

This, said the activists, was necessary to stop concocted stories that continue to be churned out and will be frequent recourse of communal political formations as elections near.

They also said a special drive to ensure all children affected by violence return to school is taken up.

Further, the magistrates and police chiefs of the district should visit all violence-affected areas to restore confidence among the minority community, the team said.

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