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Monday, April 12, 2021

Muzaffarnagar riots: Court accepts SIT closure report in case against BJP MLA Sangeet Som

Som was accused of uploading an inflammatory video on Facebook that had allegedly triggered communal violence in Muzzafarnagar and its adjoining areas in 2013.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
March 9, 2021 11:20:22 pm
BJP MLA Sangeet SomBJP MLA from Meerut’s Sardhana Sangeet Singh Som. (File photo)

A local court has accepted the closure report filed by an Uttar Pradesh Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) against BJP MLA Sangeet Singh Som who was accused of uploading an inflammatory video on Facebook that had allegedly triggered communal violence in the district and adjoining areas in 2013. The violence had claimed 62 lives.

The court order on Monday came four years after the SIT said no evidence was found against Som — an MLA from Meerut’s Sardhana.

“No one has raised any objection against the closure report. The court had issued several notices to complainant sub-inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, but no one turned up. Recently, a police constable appeared before the court and informed that Singh was dead. The constable also produced evidence in support of his claim. Following this, Additional District and Sessions Judge Ram Sudh Singh ordered that the closure report be accepted,” District Government Counsel of Muzaffarnagar, Rajeev Sharma, said on Tuesday.

At the time the complaint was filed, Singh was a sub-inspector in Muzaffarnagar’s Kotwali police station.

According to Sharma, the court, in its judgment, said scrutiny of the evidence collected by the investigating officers did not reveal enough ground for summoning Som and the other accused.

Singh, the complainant, and a local youth, identified as Sumit Kumar, were killed on December 3, 2018, when a mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter went on a rampage in the Siyana area of Bulandshahr district. At the time, Singh was the Siyana Station House Officer.

The case against Som and the others, including one Shivam Kumar and 229 unidentified people, was lodged at the City Kotwali police station in Muzaffarnagar under IPC Sections 420 (forgery), 153-A (promoting enmity on religious grounds), 120-B (conspiracy) and section 66 of the Information Technology Act on August 29, 2013.

The case was registered in connection with the video that started doing the rounds on social media two days after two youths — Sachin and Gaurav — were killed allegedly in retaliation for the murder of Shahnawaz, a resident of Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar. The video carried the line: “Bhai Sahab Dekho Kya Hua Kawal Mein [Brother, see what has happened in Kawal].”

A primary investigation found that the video was uploaded on YouTube by Shivam Kumar, one of the accused, and it was allegedly widely circulated after being shared on Som’s Facebook account.

During the investigation, police found that Kumar and Som allegedly removed all details, including friends’ lists, from their Facebook accounts. The 229 people who had “liked” the video were also found to have removed their personal details from their accounts. The police, with the help of the CBI, contacted Facebook’s headquarters in California and sought information. However, it did not get the information it needed to pursue the case.

Since Facebook could not provide the details, the police filed the closure report saying no evidence was found.

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