A special court in Uttar Pradesh has allowed the state government’s request to withdraw a case of inciting violence against various accused, including 12 Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, in connection with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case, reported Live Law on Saturday. These leaders include state minister Suresh Rana, BJP MLA Sangeet Som, former MP Bharatendra Singh and Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Prachi.
The leaders were accused of giving inflammatory speeches during a panchayat in Nangla Mandaud village that led to communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts, according to the Hindustan Times. Muzaffarnagar district government counsel Rajiv Sharma said that the accused were booked for violating prohibitory orders, deterring public servants from discharging their duties and wrongful restraint, reported PTI.
At least 60 people were killed and thousands of Muslim families displaced in the incident that took place in September 2013. Days later, reports of sexual assault and abuse had also begun to emerge.
On Friday, judge Ram Sudh Singh allowed the government to withdraw the case. Muzaffarnagar’s additional district government counsel Lalit Bhardwaj said that the state government had sent a letter requesting the withdrawal of the case last year.
BJP’s Muzaffarnagar district president Vijay Shukla praised the court’s decision. “Fake case were registered against party leaders during the rule of Samajwadi Party government,” Shukla claimed. “We appreciate the court’s decision.”
Samajwadi Party leader Sudhir Panwar said the court’s decision to withdraw cases of “such heinous crimes” would send a wrong message to society. “It’s a dangerous precedent being set up as BJP leaders can again try to polarise the society without any accountability of their leaders,” he said.
Earlier in March, the same special court had accepted the closure report filed by the state police’s Special Investigation Team team filed against Sangeet Som. The legislator was accused of uploading an inflammatory video on Facebook, which allegedly triggered the communal violence in the district and adjoining areas in 2013.