New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh government, under scrutiny on the issue of relief and rehabilitation provided to riot victims of Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas, today told the Supreme Court that Rs 5 lakh compensation have been given to 1600 families of the minority community who are not willing to return to their villages and want to relocate themselves.

When a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam wanted to know “why these families are not willing to return to their villages” senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for the state, said these people are mainly workers who were employed by the land owning majority community and they can get their livelihood in the place of relocation.

“These people are living on fringe, serving mainly as workers in agricultural field. Their skill can help them to survive in any other village,” he said, adding that the demographic situation was such that they have preferred to take the compensation package of Rs 5 lakh per family.

The senior advocate was making an attempt to answer the bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, that “in spite of all these measures, they are not willing to return and it shows that they have no confidence”.

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, who is appearing in the matter, said, “How do they expect victims to return when they (state) are unable to arrest the accused as when they go to arrest them, they face law and order problem.”

“You as a state has been unable to restore law and order situation to instill confidence,” she submitted while Lalit was making his arguments.

However, Lalit said it was wrong to assume that the state was not doing anything.

The apex court, which has been monitoring the relief and rehabilitation measures in violence-hit districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and other adjoining areas, is undertaking final hearing on a batch of petitions.

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