Muzaffarnagar: Stories of tragedy and suffering followed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi everywhere, as they visited Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, torn apart by communal clashes in which 48 people have been killed.

“I saw my wife and child butchered in front of me,” wept Jameel to the PM at a relief camp in Bassi Kalan. ‘They burnt down my house. There is nothing at all, no one to go home to.”

Several villagers driven out of their homes and living in relief camps shared similar stories, telling the top Congress leaders that it was impossible for them to even think of returning home.

Sonia Gandhi was seen crossing the security barricades to talk to the women, while Rahul Gandhi leaned over to talk to villagers.

Among them was 35-year-old Sajida, who told the Congress president that she and her eight members of her family were attacked by a mob at the village Kutbi.

Munni, her head bandaged heavily, said she would never go back to her village Paldi. “I can’t go back to a place where I saw my sister-in-law and brother-in-law murdered.”

Many of the families said they wanted to return to their villages to get their belongings, and asked the PM for help. Dr Singh assured toughest action against those behind the riots and promised to do everything to make the villagers feel safe.

Hundreds of villagers have been displaced by the communal clashes that were triggered by the killing of three young men in village Kawal last month. A massive farmers’ meeting was called on September 7 to demand justice for two Jat brothers, who were lynched after they killed a Muslim man for stalking their sister. Farmers were attacked after that gathering, which sparked riots in several villages.

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