Twelve children died in Muzaffarnagar relief camps

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A relief camp in MuzaffarnagarImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Over 4,000 people are still living in the relief camps

At least 12 children have died in relief camps set up for thousands of people who fled their homes during Hindu-Muslim clashes in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in September, an official report says.

Officials have denied media reports that most of the children died of cold.

They say the children died of pneumonia and dysentery, among other ailments.

Sixty-five people died in the clashes in September. The riots were described as the worst in India in a decade.

Thousands of people fled their homes in the town of Muzaffarnagar after the violence which was sparked by the killing of three men who had objected to the harassment of a young woman.

A report by a government appointed panel said at least 12 children, aged below 15, had died in the relief camps.

There were reports in the Indian media that many of these children had died of severe cold.

"The cause of the death of all these children is different with about four dying because of pneumonia while some others died because of dysentery and one due to premature birth," a senior official of Uttar Pradesh state, AK Gupta, told reporters.

He said most of the children who died "had been taken outside the camps for treatment by their parents or were referred to government hospitals for treatment".

The report also said that 4,783 people were still living in five relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts.

At least 85 people were injured in September's rioting. The clashes also left more than 50,000 people, mostly Muslims, homeless.