Muzaffarnagar riots: Villagers fleeing homes targeted

RiotsThe death toll in Muzaffarnagar violence climbed to 31 on Monday. (IE Photo)

With five more deaths being reported on Monday, the third day of the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and the surrounding areas, the toll rose to 31 while at least another 50 are reported to be injured.

While police said violence had shifted away from villages that were affected over the last 48 hours, senior officials said mobs were targeting those trying to flee their villages.

Timeline: Communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh

Curfew remained in force in the violence-hit areas and the Army staged flag marches for the second consecutive day even as scared residents continued to abandon villages.

Police sources said mobs had ambushed villagers attempting to flee the violence-torn areas on Monday. Shariq, 35, was among those killed. "He was found by the road near Sanota village with severe injuries on his throat and stomach. He was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead," said a police officer.

Akhilesh struggles to contain riots as violence spreads to more UP areas

Yamin Ali, 33, and his neighbour Mohammed Irfan, 40, said they were fleeing from Sisoli village to Dharmpuri when they were attacked. "We had decided to leave Sisoli on motorcycles, through the fields... we thought we could avoid the mobs if we stayed away from the roads. But after dropping off our wives and children (in Dharmpuri), we were returning to pick up more relatives, when a gang of four ambushed us," said Ali.

"They were hiding in the fields and we did not see them. They pulled Irfan off his motorcycle and assaulted him. I rushed back to Dharmpuri and informed the police personnel there," said Ali.

PM speaks to Akhilesh as death toll in Muzaffarnagar violence reaches 31

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