As many as 21 cases of communal violence and those involving cow protection were dropped by the courts in Karnataka between October and December last year, based on a order by the BS Yediyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, The Indian Express reported on Friday.

The cases were dropped on requests made by former Law Minister JC Madhuswamy, BJP MLA from Bhatkal Sunil Naik, and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan, according to the newspaper. The beneficiaries included BJP MP from Mysuru Prathap Simha, among several others.

The matter came to light after the state government, in September last year, decided to rescind 62 criminal cases against several of its party’s leaders, including sitting MPs and MLAs, based on an order passed on August 31, 2020. In December, the Karnataka High Court restrained the government from further withdrawal of cases, after human rights body People’s Union For Civil Liberties challenged the government order, The New Indian Express reported.

However, the 21 aforementioned cases were already dropped by various courts between October 10 and December 10 last year, according to The Indian Express. Madhuswamy himself sought the dropping of 13 cases involving communal incidents that occurred in the Hunsur region of Mysore district between 2015 and 2018. This also involves an incident from December 2017, in which Simha allegedly drove his jeep into a police barricade erected to regulate a Hanuman Jayanti procession in the communally sensitive Hunsur town. However, a local court dropped the charges against him on October 10, based on the government order.

Five cases involving communal violence in Honnavar region of Uttara Kannada district ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections were dropped on the request of the BJP MLA from Bhatkal, Sunil Naik, The Indian Express reported. The incident, which involved violence at a peace meeting called by local authorities to discuss the route of an annual Muslim procession near a temple, had led to death of 19-year old Paresh Mesta. As many as 110 persons accused in relation to the incident were also acquitted by courts.

Further, a person accused of attacking people transporting cows was acquitted in Bidar town, based on the request of Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan. The minister also exercised the government order in another case related to cattle transport.

The majority of the cases were withdrawn on November 26, when 142 Hindu youths and 40 Muslim youths of Hunsur were acquitted, following clashes over the Hindu festival of Hanuman Jayanti, The Indian Express reported.