LUCKNOW—The Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath is trying to defend its three Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders by withdrawing cases against them, including an MLA in Muzaffarnagar riots during September 2013, who was accused of making inflammatory speeches at a Mahapanchayat in Nagla Mandor village.
Apart from Hindutva leader Sadhvi Prachi, the three accused in the case filed at Shikheda police station include Sangeet Som, MLA from Sardhana (Meerut); Suresh Rana, MLA from Thana Bhawan (Shamli); and Kapil Dev, who represents the Muzaffarnagar Sadar seat in the Assembly.
These three BJP leaders were also blamed for violating prohibitory orders, entering into arguments with the government machinery, and later their involvement in rioting and arson.
Talking to leading English daily, government counsel, Muzaffarnagar, Rajeev Sharma said that a “withdrawal application [in the case] has been moved in the court concerned, and the matter is still pending”.
Actually, on September 7, 2013, the Jat community called a mahapanchayat at an intermediate college at Nagla Mandor village to decide further course of action in the murder of two youths at Kawaal village on August 27, 2013.
The two deceased youths, Sachin and Gaurav, were lynched by a Muslim mob soon after they had killed a Muslim youth, Shahnawaz Qureshi.
Riots broke out when people returning from the Mahapanchayat were attacked. The violence spread to other areas in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts.
At least, 65 people were killed and around 40,000 were evacuated from the riot effected areas. A total of 510 criminal cases were registered and chargesheets were filed in 175 others. The police have either filed closure reports or censored the case.
The then Station House Officer (SHO) of Shikheda police station, Charan Singh Yadav, on September 7, 2013 had filed a case in connection with the Mahapanchayat.
As per records, forty people, including Som, Rana, Kapil Dev, Prachi, and former MP Harendra Singh Malik, were accused of giving inflammatory speeches against a community, violating prohibitory orders of holding a Mahapanchayat without obtaining permission from the district administration, creating obstruction to deter public servants from performing their duty, and setting a motorcycle on fire.
All accused were booked under IPC Sections 188 (joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, etc., and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 341 (wrongful restraint), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage).
At that time the state government filed chargesheets against 14 accused, including Som, Rana, Kapil Dev, Prachi, and Malik on the basis of an investigation conducted by a Special Investigation Team.
A special delegation of ‘khap chaudharis’ team led by BJP MP Sanjiv Balyan met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow in February 2018 and urged him to withdraw cases against Hindus in connection with the Muzaffarnagar riots.
The Yogi government later began process of withdrawing cases by looking for details from the Muzaffarnagar and Shamli district administrations, including in this case.
The government also sought opinion on the withdrawal of cases from the District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and Senior Prosecuting Officer.
(The story has been written by Noor Nabi Khan)