Updated: March 31, 2021 9:20:59 am
A local court in Muzaffarnagar has acquitted 12 people who were charge-sheeted in two separate cases of robbery and arson during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The court acquitted them either for lack of evidence or differences in the statements of prosecution witnesses.
As many as 510 criminal cases were registered in connection with the Muzaffarnagar riots and police filed chargesheet in 175 of them. The remaining cases were either closed or expunged by the police.
District Government Counsel (Muzaffarnagar) Rajeev Sharma said that so far, the courts have given verdicts in 20 cases. Barring in one case, all the accused in the rest of the cases have been acquitted, Sharma added.
The only case in which the accused have been convicted so far is the one related to the murder of two youths – Sachin and Gaurav – at Kawal village that triggered the riots. Seven persons have been given life imprisonment in the murder case.
Meanwhile, the two cases in which the accused have been acquitted by the court last week were related to setting houses on fire and robbery during the 2013 riots.
In the first case, an FIR was registered for setting the house of a local imam on fire and looting valuables from his home.
According to Lukman, the local imam, he had shifted to the Budhana area of the city with his family after the riots broke out. He later came to know that on September 14, a mob broke open his house and took away valuables and then set the house on fire. Police filed chargesheet against the six accused – Krishna, Mintu, Narendra, Kala Ganja alias Vijay Malik, Virendra alias Bindu and Manoj, all residents of Kharad village in Muzaffarnagar – for dacoity and setting the house on fire. The court acquitted all the six accused for lack of evidence.
In another case, six persons, who were charged with dacoity and setting houses on fire at Tagpur village in the Shamli area, were acquitted after the court found “differences” in statements of five prosecution witnesses. All those acquitted — Umesh, Devendra, Pintu, Lalit Kumar, Vinod, Arvind — were out on bail.
According to the prosecution, Kaseemuddin had alleged that the accused looted his house and set it on fire on August 8, 2013, a day after a mahapanchayat was held over the murder of two Hindu youths allegedly by a group of Muslim men. Kaseemuddin was able to flee to a relief camp.
Last week, a local court allowed the UP government’s petition seeking direction to withdraw a case lodged against several BJP leaders, including three MLAs, who were accused of making inflammatory speeches at mahapanchayat at Nagla Mandor village in Muzaffarnagar. The three BJP MLAs are Sangeet Som (Sardhana in Meerut), Suresh Rana (Thana Bhawan in Shamli), and Kapil Dev (Muzaffarnagar Sadar).
At least 65 people were killed and around 40,000 people displaced during the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.
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