Riot-hit Kosi Kalan far from normal
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19 days later Fear, mistrust still in air; curfew lifed but shops remain shut
Nineteen days after Kosi Kalan town in Mathura witnessed communal rioting, in which four persons were killed, shops are still closed. There is fear, mistrust and allegations that police have booked innocent people in criminal cases.
Curfew was imposed immediately after the clashes broke out in Kosi Kalan — near UP's border with Haryana — on June 1. The day curfew was lifted on June 7. Two days ago, it was completely lifted. Traders, however, are yet to open their shops.
The locals have formed a 41-member peace committee that has called for a mahapanchayat. People from neghbouring areas at Kokila Van, around 10 km from Kosi Kalan, have been called on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
Since the peace committee consists almost entirely of Hindus, the Muslims are apprehensive about the mahapanchayat. On Sunday, a delegation came to Lucknow and met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, urging him to restore normalcy.
One June 1, violence had broken out over a fight over the use of water stored at a religious shrine. After the violence and arson, 21 FIRs were lodged. The district magistrate and superintendent of police were transferred.
The local Vyapar Mandal, which is an association of traders, is highly critical of the police administration. The traders allege that most of the people named in the FIR are either traders or their relatives, who were not involved in the violence. Since the police were searching for them, and also conducting raids, they cannot open shops.
On Sunday, a meeting was held at the initiative of Thakur Tejal Singh, local MLA, and it was decided that shops would open from Monday. However, not a single shop has actually opened. On Tuesday, the peace committee members tried to go to the market to persuade traders to open shops, but the district administration, fearing trouble, stopped them.
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