- Sangeet Som accused in cases related to 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots
- UP asks for status of cases against him, will decide whether to drop them
- Over 60 people died in the riots; Som is accused of fuelling violence
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh government has initiated steps that could lead to the withdrawal of court cases against its controversial lawmaker Sangeet Som, related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The state's law department has written to officials, asking for the status of seven cases filed against Mr Som between 2003 and 2017. Three of the cases are linked to the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, in which more than 60 people lost their lives.
According to the election affidavit filed by Sangeet Som for the 2017 UP assembly elections, some of the charges against him related to the Muzaffarnagar riots include circulating fake news, promoting religious enmity, conspiracy, and rioting.
The district administration admitted that they received a letter from the government this morning and that the list of cases includes one from 2013.
"We have been asked to prepare a report based on 13 pointers related to the withdrawal of the cases. The pointers include the names of courts, the stage of the trial, the details of the complainants and the accused," said Amit Kumar Singh, a senior government officer in Muzaffarnagar.
The administration says they will inquire about the progress of the cases in local court, file a report and send it to the UP government's law department.
A call will be taken by the law department and if the government decides to withdraw the cases, it will have to approach the local courts, where the cases are being heard or are pending. The court's decision will be final.
Sangeet Som, MLA from the western UP's Sardhana assembly seat, has been a controversial figure because of his statements and accusations over his role in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.
Since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in 2017 in Uttar Pradesh, his government had sought recommendations about closure in over 100 riot cases related to Muzaffarnagar.
The government has sought permission from courts to close at least 74 of these 100 cases, but all of these are pending.
The decision to initiate a possible withdrawal of Mr Som's cases though may turn out to be very controversial because so far the government has insisted it has been only looking to withdraw cases against what it calls ' innocent' and 'disempowered' citizens.