BJP leaders get relief in Muzaffarnagar riots case
A special court in Uttar Pradesh has accepted the state government’s request to withdraw a case of inciting violence against at least 30 people, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Suresh Rana, Sangeet Som and Umesh Malik, in connection with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case.
Muzaffarnagar’s additional district government counsel (ADGC), Lalit Bhardwaj, said the state requested the withdrawal of the case. The three BJP leaders along with former MP Kunwar Bhartendra Singh and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi, were accused of giving inflammatory speeches during a panchayat in Nangla Mandaud village, triggering communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. At least 60 people, a majority of them Muslims, were killed and over 50,000 displaced during the riots.
Bhardwaj said the state government sent a letter requesting the withdrawal of the case last year and the then ADGC, Subhash Saini, also filed an application in the special court under the Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 321 (withdrawal from prosecution).
“It [the request] was pending for over a year and finally the court approved it on Thursday,” said Bhardwaj.
Hailing the court decision, the BJP’s Muzaffarnagar district president Vijay Shukla said: “Fake case were registered against party leaders during the rule of Samajwadi Party [SP] government. We appreciate the court’s decision.”
SP leader Sudhir Panwar said: “Withdrawal of such heinous cases would send a wrong message in the society. It’s a dangerous precedent being set up as BJP leaders can again try to polarise the society without any accountability of their leaders”, SP leader and former member of the state planning commission said.
Earlier in March, the same court accepted the closure report filed by the state police’s Special Investigation Team, clearing Som of the charges of sharing on Facebook a video, which allegedly fanned communal violence in Muzzafarnagar and the adjoining areas eight years ago.