The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday denied permission to the Allahabad High Court for prosecuting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a 2007 riots case. Adityanath, who was then an MP from Gorakhpur, is accused of exacerbating tensions in Gorakhpur by making an inflammatory speech.
Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar informed the court of the home department’s decision to deny permission for the prosecution of the chief minister. The court had sought an explanation from Bhatnagar over the delay in prosecuting the five accused in the riots case, including Adityanath.
News channel NDTV reported that Bhatnagar, explaining the government’s stand, informed the court that forensic examination of the CD of Adityanath’s alleged hate speech revealed that it has been tampered with.
The petitioners who had earlier moved the court seeking an independent investigation in the case, said that they would challenge the government’s move. Earlier, the petitioners, Pervez Parwaz and Asad Hyat, told the court that “the person against whom sanction for prosecution has been granted by the state government has himself become the head of the state.” Adityanath currently holds the home ministry portfolio.
“We challenged the state government’s stand and submitted before the court that the chief secretary happens to be a subordinate of the chief minister, who is himself an accused. The refusal to grant sanction tantamount to an accused declining to prosecute himself, which has no parallel in the
world,” the petitioners’ counsel S F A Naqvi told PTI.
He said “we also pointed out that Yogi Adityanath has himself, in an interview to a private news channel, which is available on YouTube, admitted to having made the incendiary speeches for which he has been named in the FIR lodged at Gorakhpur. We requested that the court summon the video recording to get a first-hand impression.”
“The court responded to our submission by asking the state government to file an affidavit on the next date of hearing explaining why a recording of the said interview not be summoned,” he said.
“We also sought permission to file an application challenging the state government’s order refusing to the grant sanction for prosecuting Yogi Adityanath. The court gave permission to do so by the next date of hearing on July 7,” the counsel added.
In 2007, after the death of a youth injured in communal clashes, Adityanath violated the District Magistrate order that barred him from entering Gorakhpur. His alleged hate speech led to a fresh round of communal violence. After Adityanath broke the curfew imposed in light of the violence, he was placed under arrest and lodged in jail for 15 days. Tensions escalated after his arrest and 10 people were killed in the ensuing violence.