2013 Muzaffarnagar Riots: Yogi Govt Directs Officials To Withdraw 18 Cases
The Yogi Adityanath led-BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has directed the Muzaffarnagar district administration to withdraw 18 cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots that killed at least 60 people in 2013.
Directive to withdraw cases
According to the Money Control’s sources, the UP’s special secretary of law JJ Singh has directed the District Magistrate Rajeev Sharma to withdraw the cases. The directive came after the Yogi-government had sought an opinion of the district administration, nine months ago for the withdrawal of 131 cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots.
“Three days ago, I received withdrawal application in 18 cases of Muzaffarnagar riots from the state law department. It will soon be sent to court after examining of records. These cases were lodged under Rioting, Arms Act and dacoity charges. No public representatives are accused in any of them,” Rajeev Sharma said on Sunday.
The Additional District Magistrate (Administration) Amit Singh said that the applications will be moved through government counsels in the concerned courts. He also clarified that these 18 cases are among those on which the UP government had sought details including opinion on withdrawal.
About the 131 cases
In February last year, a delegation of ‘Khap Chaudharis’ led by BJP MP and former Union Minister, Sanjiv Balyan had met the UP CM Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow urging him to withdraw cases lodged against Hindus. “In the meeting with the chief minister in February, I requested him to consider the withdrawal of 179 cases, in which over 850 Hindus were held accused,” reported the Scroll.
Following this, the government wrote to the district administration to sought reports on 131 riots cases. The government also asked for the opinion of the District Magistrates (DM), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and government counsel on withdrawing them in “public interest”.
In August last year, the district administration had opposed the government’s proposal to withdraw the cases. District magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and the Prosecuting Officer have rejected the plea by Yogi government to withdraw 133 cases on 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. At that time of these 133 cases, 89 were pending in court, rest of them had either seen acquittals or sent for closure reports. The district magistrate has quoted “administrative reasons” for the rejection, as reported by Financial Express.
The pending cases are mostly related to hate speech, murder, attempt to murder, dacoity and arson. BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan, BJP MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som, VHP (Vishva Hindu Parishad) leader Sadhvi Prachi are among the accused in the incidents. 16 of such cases are registered under section 153 A (Charges of promoting enmity on religious grounds) and 2 cases under section 295 A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), as reported by Indian Express.
2013 Muzaffarnagar riots
During the tenure of Samajwadi Party CM Akhilesh Yadav, Muzaffarnagar witnessed violent riots between Hindus and Muslims in August-September 2013. It resulted in at least 62 deaths, injured 93 and rendered around 50,000 people homeless.
According to The Times of India, Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, during his tenure, had also sought opinion on withdrawal of riot cases. The cases include charges on BSP MP Qadir Rana and other Muslim leaders. The then district magistrate of Muzaffarnagar, Kaushal Raj Sharma, had told the Times of India, “At best you can say the move can lead to the quashing of FIR.” In this context, it is mention-worthy that the riot has been described as “the worst violence in Uttar Pradesh in recent history”.