Perpetrators of communal riots in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district will be given the strictest punishment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.
"I am here to share your pain," Singh said consoling people displaced by the violence in a refugee camp in Bassi Kalan village, 30 km from Muzzafarnagar.
Singh, who reached Muzzafarnagar along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi at 10.30 am, spent around half-an-hour in the camp in which members from the Muslim community have taken shelters.
Talking to reporters after listening to the people living in the camp, Singh termed last week's riots as a "major incident".
Before heading for another camp in Tawli village, the prime minister said that the "perpetrators of the riots will be given strictest punishment."
"Our priority and efforts would be that people displaced are sent back home," he said while assuring all help to the UP government in restoring normalcy in the area.
Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi also interacted with the people living in the relief camp. Sonia moved away from the barricade and interacted with women refugees sheltered there.
Forty two-year-old riot-affected Jameel Bassi from Kutbi village said he told the Prime Minister that the victims did not want to go back to their homes as their lives were in danger.
He was seen weeping during his interaction with Singh. State Governor B L Joshi and Union Minister of State for Home R P N Singh were also present.
"We told the Prime Minister that we don't want to go back to our village. There is threat to our lives," Bassi said.
"The prime minister said that all help will be extended to us by the state government and the central government," he added.
An estimated 2000 people are staying in Bassi Kalan relief camp.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi meet riot victims at a refugee camp in Muzaffarnagar
Photograph Courtesy: PIB