The BJP government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh has initiated the process on the withdrawal of 131 cases linked to the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, including 13 of murder and 11 of attempt to murder.
Documents examined by The Indian Express show that these cases include charges under IPC sections related to “heinous” crimes with a minimum punishment of seven years in jail. Besides, there are 16 cases under section 153 A on charges of promoting enmity on religious grounds, and two under section 295 A for deliberate and malicious acts intended to insult a religion or religious beliefs.
At least 62 persons died and thousands lost their homes in the riots that took place in September 2013. Following the violence, a total of 503 cases were registered against around 1,455 persons at police stations in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli by the then Samajwadi Party government.
The decision to start the process on the withdrawal was taken after a delegation of khap leaders from Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, including BJP MP Sanjiv Balyan and the party’s Budhana MLA Umesh Malik, met Chief Minister Adityanath on February 5 and presented a list of 179 cases.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Balyan said that in the list presented to the Chief Minister, all the accused were Hindus.
On February 23, UP’s Law Department sent letters signed by Special Secretary, Rajesh Singh, to the district magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, seeking details of the 131 cases under 13 points, including current status.
One of the points state: “In connection with the withdrawal of cases, your clear opinion on public interest with reason.”
Along with the letter, the government also attached eight pages referring to each FIR, including name of the district and police station where it was lodged, the case number and IPC sections listed.
Official sources told The Indian Express that the district magistrates forwarded the letter to the SP and the prosecuting officer for the required details.
When contacted, Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said, “I have no knowledge about it. The state’s Law Department deals with such matters.”
The Law Department’s Special Secretary, Singh, declined comment. However, sources in the department confirmed that the letter had been sent.
Baliyan said: “In the meeting with the Chief Minister last month, I requested him to consider the withdrawal of 179 cases in which over 850 Hindus were held accused. All these cases were registered in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. We had been preparing the list for a while now. The cases include those of arson, attempt to murder and damage of properties but not murder.”
However, MLA Malik confirmed that “there are murder cases too on the list”.
“After receiving the list, the Chief Minister had told us that list would be sent to the law department for opinion. I don’t know the present status of the list,” Malik said.
On January 5, the state government had sought a report from Muzaffarnagar administration on the withdrawal of nine cases against Malik, including two for the riots.