Rahul Gandhi yesterday made an unannounced visit to the riot-hit areas of Muzaffarnagar district during which he hit out at Uttar Pradesh government alleging the conditions in the relief camps were “very bad”.
The Congress Vice President, who met the affected people from both the Muslim and Hindu communities in what is seen as an attempt to broker peace, said that wherever he went people talked about “bhaichara” (brotherhood).
The day-long visit was marred by protests from members believed to be from the Muslim community some of whom who were Samajwadi Party workers when he was returning from Shamli relief camp.
Gandhi was shown black flags and his cavalcade was stopped by about 200 protesters who shouted, “Rahul Gandhi, down, down”. Some of them objected to Gandhi’s remarks during his previous visit that Pakistan’s ISI had approached Muslim youths.
Asked about the protests, Gandhi said, “It is not the people but workers of SP who are angry.”
This is the second visit by Rahul to Muzaffarnagar after it was rocked by communal riots in August-September in which 62 people were killed.
Gandhi during his visit to the relief camps and homes of the victims who were killed in the communal clashes asked those living in the temporary shelter to return home.
“The condition in camps is very bad. Children are dying there. There is need for government to help them,” he told reporters after visiting five relief camps.
Other than the relief camps, Gandhi also visited a Jat dominated village from where the riots had started in August.
Gandhi charged the SP government with not doing enough for the affected people to ensure their return and rehabilitation.
“A young chief minister is there. He should put some focus to improve the conditions in camps and do the mediation,” he said.
He expressed concern over the condition of the displaced people. “Two things need to be done. The first is to better the conditions in camps, the second is to set things right among people through mediation and by talking to them.
“Wherever I went people said it is was the handiwork of communal forces and that there is no enmity but brotherhood among them,” Gandhi told reporters.
He spent almost the entire day in the area and met people from both communities.
“I have seen the situation prevailing here with my eyes. I met people of all communities, who were affected by the riots. Wherever I went people talked about bhaichara (brotherhood). They talked about amity from their heart….”