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2013 Muzaffarnagar riots: District authorities against withdrawal of cases

The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots killed more than 60 people and left 50,000 displaced.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2018 22:13 IST
2013 Muzaffarnagar riots,Muzaffarnagar riots,Uttar Pradesh riots
File photo of displaced riot victims at Loi camp in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh.(HT)

District authorities in Muzaffarnagar are not in favour of withdrawing cases against politicians named in the 2013 riots that claimed over 60 lives and left over 40,000 people homeless.

While they intimated the same to the Uttar Pradesh government after careful scrutiny of the status of these cases, the state law minister countered that the government was considering withdrawal of only the “politically motivated cases and there was no such move on the riots cases”.

The cases were filed during the Akhilesh Yadav regime against BJP leader Suresh Rana (now a minister), Sanjiv Balyan (former Union minister), Bhartendu Singh (MP), Umesh Malik (MLA) and party leader Sadhvi Prachi.

In a letter to the district magistrate on January 5, Raj Singh, special secretary in the department of justice, had sought information on 13 points, including whether the cases could be withdrawn in public interest.

UP law minister Brajesh Pathak said: “There never was any move by the government to withdraw riots cases. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had very clearly announced in the last Vidhan Sabha session that 20,000 politically motivated cases will be withdrawn.”

The bill to withdraw the 20,000 politically motivated cases was tabled in the Winter session and was unanimously passed with the support of all the parties.

Muzaffarnagar district magistrate Rajiv Sharma said: “We have not taken any decision on it (withdrawal) yet. Nothing has been brought forth before me on the issue. If anything transpired on it during the previous DM’s term, then I am not aware of it.” Sharma joined as Muzaffarnagar DM only last week.

The district authorities, in response to two letters from the state department of justice, have advised against the withdrawal of 10 such cases as the court has already taken cognisance against the accused after charge sheets were filed by the police and the special investigation team (SIT) probing the riots cases, the sources said.

The accused are facing charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating prohibitory orders, preventing public servants from discharging their duties and wrongful restraint. The accused had allegedly participated in a ‘mahapanchayat’ and incited violence through their speeches in the last week of August 2013.

Chandravir Singh Nirwal, a BJP leader and one of the lawyers representing Sanjiv Balyan, Suresh Rana and other accused, said: “We know that the government has been told by the district administration that now at this stage nothing can be done from the government’s side because the charge sheet was filed, court has taken cognizance and trial is going on. Now it is up to the court.”

Sanjiv Balyan said: “I am not aware of the district administration’s or government’s stand. I will be able to comment once I get to know things.”

Balyan had met Adityanath in Lucknow on Monday seeking withdrawal of 402 cases registered largely against Hindus in the Muzaffarnagar riots. He was accompanied by members of the Muzaffarnagar and Shamli khap and after the meeting had said the delegation met Adityanath, not over the cases registered against them but against “innocent” people by the previous Samajwadi Party government. He said: “If withdrawal isn’t possible, we will seek re-inquiry as we are convinced that these cases were politically motivated.”

A law department official, however, said it was wrong to presume the government had the power to withdraw cases pending with the court.

“There is a process through which the government could request the court, but ultimately it’s up to the courts to take a view,” the official said.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 18:10 IST