7 held guilty of killing two youths that sparked 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots
A court in Muzaffarnagar on Wednesday held seven people guilty of killing two youths, Sachin and Gaurav, in Kawal village of the district in August 2013 — an incident that was believed to have triggered the Muzaffarnagar riots in September that year, which left more than 60 people dead and displaced about 50,000.
Additional district and sessions judge Himashu Bhatnagar convicted Muzammil, Mujassim, Furkaan, Nadeem, Jahangir, Afzal and Iqbal of the murders in Jansath area on August 27, 2013. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Friday.
Cousins Sachin and Gaurav were residents of village Malikpura. They were beaten to death by a mob with lathis, bricks and iron rods following a dispute after their bicycle reportedly collided with the motorcycle of a local youth. Another youth, Shahanawaz, also died in the clash.
Later, Gaurav’s father, Ravindra, filed a first information report, accusing Mujassim, Muzammil, Furkaan, Nadeem, Jahangir and Shahnawaz of killing the cousins. The matter was investigated by Sampurnanad Tiwari, an officer from the Special Investigation Cell, formed to probe riot cases.
Tiwari submitted the charge sheet against Muzammil, Mujassim,Furkaan, Jahangir and Nadeem to the court on November 24, 2013. On the basis of evidences and witnesses’ testimonies, the court summoned two more people — Afzal and Iqbal. While these two were granted bail, the others have been in prison for the past five years.
The prosecution side produced 10 witnesses before the court while defence lawyers presented six. After hearing both the parties, judge held all the seven accused guilty under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
At the time when the court pronounced its verdict, six accused were present and one of the accused, Muzammil, appeared through video conferencing from the Bulandshahr jail. It is believed that it was after these killings, known as “Kawal murders”, that the communal harmony of the area was shattered.