31 dead in communal clashes in India's largest state
Indian authorities have said the death toll in communal clashes between members of two communities in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district since Saturday has reached 31, with one person being stabbed to death Monday.
"The death toll in the violence in Muzaffarnagar and other areas has climbed to 31," principal secretary of Uttar Pradesh's home department, R.M. Srivastava, told the media in state capital Lucknow.
Earlier on Monday morning, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and condemned the violence in the state. He also expressed grief and shock at the loss of innocent lives, and assured Yadav of all required assistance in tackling the situation.
The clashes started in Muzaffarnagar following the murder of a person of a particular community whose members lynched two members of another community in retaliation some days back. The unrest then spread to nearby villages, prompting authorities to impose curfew and deploy Indian Army troops.
State Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has called the incidents of violence "sad and unfortunate" and vowed to take strict action against those found guilty.
"We have given order to take strict action if required. Curfew has also been imposed in certain places. I appeal to the people to maintain peace and do not believe in rumours. Action will be taken against those who try to disturb the peace and order," Yadav said.
The chief minister has also announced a compensation of two lakh rupees (4,000 U.S. dollars) each to the families of those killed and 50,000 rupees (1,000 U.S. dollars) to each of those seriously injured.
New Delhi (Xinhua)