Sixty people were killed in the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013
The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to withdraw cases against several BJP leaders filed over the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, in which more than 60 people lost their lives. The list includes three BJP MLAs -- Sangeet Som, Suresh Rana, and Kapil Dev. Right-wing leader Sadhvi Prachi is also on the list. In the cases, filed under previous Akhilesh Yadav government, the leaders are accused of inciting people through provocative speeches, not following instructions issued as precautionary measures and stopping public servants from doing their duty.
All four are named in a case registered after their speeches at a Jat gathering held in Nagla Mandore village in September 2013. The jat mahapanchayat was called a few days after a ruckus in a neighbouring village. It has been alleged that the situation worsened and clashes broke out after the leaders' speech.
Government advocate Rajiv Sharma said, "Action has been taken to withdraw the case from the government level... A letter has been sent to the prosecution by the District Magistrate. We have made the application in court. Further action will be taken in the coming days".
Since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, his government had withdrawn several cases against BJP leaders filed in connection with the riots. The government's argument is that these cases were part of the earlier Samajwadi Party government's vendetta politics.
The government has sought recommendation about closure of more than 100 riot cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots.
In August last year, the state had written to the district officials, asking for the status of seven cases filed against Sangeet Som, the controversial MLA from Meerut's Sardhana. The cases were filed between 2003 and 2017 and three of them were linked to the Muzaffarnagar riots.
The move came after Governor Ram Naik signed off a bill that sought to drop 20,000 cases against politicians. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the cases were "not serious" and were "pending for a very long time".
The Samajwadi Party, which was in the opposition by then, had opposed the bill and party chief Akhilesh Yadav had said, "It remains to be seen if it is going to be just 'inconsequential cases' as the Chief Minister puts it, or will the government also withdraws serious cases".