With violence in Muzaffarnagar refusing to abate in many rural areas, the district administration on Monday gave shoot-at-sight orders against rioters, officials said. Three senior police officials were also transferred. The officials who have been transferred include Phugna police station's Inspector Omveer Sirohi, the deputy inspector general of Saharanpur, the inspector general of police (IG) of Meerut, and Divisional Commissioner SK Srivastava. They have been replaced by other senior officials.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar told 40 identified persons and 1,000 "unknown" persons have been booked for inciting mobs and for being involved in the riots.

Violence started in the district when some people pelted stones at a bus carrying people to a "mahapanchayat" where elders of two religious groups were meeting to sort out the simmering tension between the two communities ever since three youngsters were killed on August over a case of harassment.

Home department officials said the situation was "very tense" and the district administration along with the Army was trying to contain the situation and bring back normalcy. The district administration has also banned entry of any political leaders into Muzaffarnagar. More than 40 people who have been injured are being treated in hospitals. The condition of two of them is stated to be critical.

(JPN/Agencies)

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