Muzaffarnagar riots: Three years on, police yet to chargesheet BJP candidate in two cases

The police are awaiting details from Facebook’s headquarters in California to substantiate allegations that a violent video circulated on the social networking site had originated from Som’s account.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Published:January 18, 2017 4:28 am

The state police are yet to file chargesheets against BJP candidate from Sardhana seat in Meerut Sangeet Singh Som in two cases related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, three-and-half years after these cases were registered.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been probing both cases.

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In one case, the police are awaiting details from Facebook’s headquarters in California to substantiate allegations that a violent video circulated on the social networking site had originated from Som’s account. In the other case, the state government is yet to give the SIT sanction to chargesheet Som under IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony). However, chargesheets under other sections in this case have been filed.

On August 29, 2013, a case was lodged against Som after police detected a video circulating on social media which showed an individual beating up two youths mercilessly while the sentence — “Bhai Sahab Dekho Kya Hua Kawal Mein” — ran across the clip. This video was referring to the killing of two youths — Sachin and Gaurav — allegedly as a consequence of the murder of a youth named Shahnawaz at Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar on August 27, 2013. Primary investigation had found that one Shivam Kumar had uploaded the video on YouTube, which was circulated widely allegedly after it was shared from Som’s Facebook account.

The City Kotwali police had registered a case against Som, Kumar and 229 unidentified persons under IPC sections 420 (forgery), 153-A (promoting enmity on religious grounds), 120-B (conspiracy) and section 66 of the Information Technology Act.

“During investigation, police found that Kumar and Som had removed all details including friend lists from their Facebook account. The 229 persons — who had liked the video — were also found to have removed their personal details from their accounts,” said the case’s investigating officer, Inspector DS Tyagi.

“We had sought information about the accounts of Shivam and Som from the Facebook head office in California through the nodal agency, CBI. They sent us some information, but we need more specific details to proceed in the case. We have regularly been sending them letters seeking help. The last letter was dispatched to them 15 days ago,” he added. An official from Facebook had also visited Muzaffarnagar two years ago to collect information about the case, alleged sources.

The SIT had also chargesheeted Som in another case on charges of delivering an inflammatory speech at a mahapanchayat held in Muzaffarnagar on September 7, hours before the riots began. He was arrested on September 21 and the National Security Act (NSA) was invoked against him the next day. The advisory board had revoked NSA on him on November 7, 2013.

The investigating officer, however, is yet to chargesheet the BJP leader under IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) in the same case as a SIT application seeking prosecution sanction is still pending with the state government.

Som’s lawyer Anil Jindal said, “My client had not operated his Facebook account on that fateful day and had not even shared the video…He has obtained bail in both cases from the local court of Muzaffarnagar.”

After he was released from prison, the Centre had provided him ‘Z’ category security.

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