The Uttar Pradesh government has started the process of withdrawing 131 cases linked to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar and Shamli communal riots, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. These include 24 murder and attempt to murder cases.

The government decided to withdraw the cases after a delegation of khap leaders from Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, including BJP MP Sanjiv Balyan and Budhana MLA Umesh Malik, met Chief Minister Adityanath in February, and gave him a list of 179 cases, including charges related to “heinous” crimes.

Balyan and Malik, among other leaders, are accused of making provocative speeches at a mahapanchayat on August 31, 2013, which reportedly triggered the riots in which 62 people were killed and thousands left homeless.

Balyan told The Indian Express that all the accused in the list given to Adityanath were Hindus. “In the meeting with the chief minister in February, I requested him to consider the withdrawal of 179 cases, in which over 850 Hindus were held accused,” Balyan said.

“The cases include those of arson, attempt to murder and damage of properties,” he said, but added that no murder accused were on the list. However, MLA Malik said there were murder cases on the list as well.

Following this meeting, the state Law Department on February 23 sent letters signed by Special Secretary Rajesh Singh to the district magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, asking for the details of the 131 cases, the daily said, adding that it had seen the letters. Singh refused to comment, but other sources in the department said the letter had been sent.

In January too, the Uttar Pradesh government had written to the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police of Muzaffarnagar, asking for their opinion on withdrawing the cases.