SIX MONTHS after the state government sought its opinion on withdrawal of 133 cases related to the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, the district administration is learnt to have opposed the move. Sources said that in separate replies sent last week, the district magistrate, senior superintendent of police and the prosecuting officer said they were not in favour of withdrawing these cases, citing “administrative reasons”. When contacted, Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Rajeev Sharma confirmed that they had sent their replies.
Of the 133 cases, 89 are currently pending in court. The remaining have either resulted in acquittals or closure reports. The pending cases include those related to hate speech, murder, attempt to murder, arson, dacoity. Among the accused are local BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan, BJP MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som, VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi.
On January 17 this year, the state’s law department had sent a letter to the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate, seeking details of two cases of hate speech against Sadhvi Prachi, BJP MP from Bijnor Kunwar Bharatendra Singh, local BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan, and BJP MLAs Umesh Malik, Sangeet Singh Som and Suresh Rana. The cases were related to mahapanchayats held in the district on August 31, 2013 and September 7, 2013, before the violence began.
In a second letter on February 23, the law department sought details of 131 cases related to the riots. The government attached eight pages with details of FIRs, name of the district and police station where the cases were lodged, and IPC sections. The district magistrate, SSP and prosecuting officer were asked to give their separate opinions on withdrawal of these cases.
Sources said the government began the process after a delegation of khap leaders from Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, led by Balyan and Umesh Malik, met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with a list of 179 riot cases.
A total of 503 cases were lodged after the riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in September 2013, which claimed 62 lives. The state government had formed a special investigation team (SIT), based in Muzaffarnagar, to investigate these cases. The Muzaffarnagar district administration has sent the replies to the state government as the Shamli cases are also being investigated by the same SIT, and the chargesheets and closure reports have been filed in the Muzaffarnagar court.