Muzaffarnagar: Family and friends bid goodbye to journalist Rajesh Verma on Sunday who died doing his duty while covering a clash between two groups in Muzaffarnagar. He is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.
"For Rajesh, work was more important than his family," said Manish Goel.
Verma was filming the mob frenzy when he was shot in the chest, his colleague had a narrow escape. "We were there together, I got shot on my leg and he on the chest," said Manish Goel.
Today, Muzaffarnagar is a city locked down. Markets shut, roads desolate and doors closed. The city has been under curfew since late Saturday night. The Army conducted a flag march in the morning. Five companies each of the provincial armed constabulary, the Rapid action Force and the state police are out on the streets to maintain peace. Schools and colleges are shut as a precautionary measure. Senior police officers say it might take a week before the city returns to normalcy.
But it could even take more time as the district has been on a short fuse ever since three people were killed in Kawal Village on August 27.
Police say the trigger for Saturday's violence was the circulation of a fake video clip on the Internet about the murder of the three people. One of the communities called a maha panchayat in defiance of prohibitory orders as the video circulated.
Soon the situation spiraled out of control, leading to clashes in many areas of the district.
"A fake video is being circulated through social media to hike communal tensions," said UP Home Secretary Kamal Saxena.
The presence of Army personnel do add a sense of security to the people living in the district but what about the time when these men are not here. People of western Uttar Pradesh say that they are growing tired of these regular communal riots.