The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to withdraw "false" police cases against at least four BJP leaders that are linked to the Muzaffarnagar riots in which 60 people died. Making this claim before reporters yesterday, Muzaffarnagar lawmaker Sanjeev Baliyan said this will happen despite the disapproval of the local administration and the police, since "the government takes the final decision".
The government is yet to make any formal announcement in this regard.
In January, the Yogi Adityanath government had written to the district officials, asking them for a detailed report on the status of cases against BJP leaders who were accused of making provocative speeches and inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
Mr Baliyan, BJP lawmaker Umesh Malik and Suresh Rana, who is a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, were among the accused in the cases. The lawmakers have been accused of violating prohibitory orders and stopping public servants from doing their duties.
Six months later, the local magistrate, the police chief and the prosecuting officer had responded. Citing technical grounds, they all had said the cases cannot be withdrawn.
"We have probed all aspects of the cases and have sent a report to the government... We have also given our views on the basis of the police and prosecution reports that withdrawal of cases would not be right from administrative point of view," Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate told reporters.
"The district administration never gives a report in favour of withdrawing cases, but the government takes the final decision," Mr Baliyan has told reporters.
The letter to the district officials and the police was part of the initiative to withdraw what the state government called old and non-serious cases against political leaders. The letter was sent days before Governor Ram Naik signed off the bill that would help drop 20,000 cases against politicians.
At the time, Mr Baliyan had said, if cases were being withdrawn, the "first ones would be those against the hundreds of ordinary and innocent people framed by the police".