LUCKNOW: UP government's move to starts the process for withdrawal of 131 cases related to 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots has evoked sharp reactions from the Opposition as many of these cases are not just frivolous and 'political' in nature as explained by the government when it announced in state assembly last year to take back nearly 20,000 police cases against political workers.
A number of cases in the list prepared by the government for withdrawal are also related toc rimes like murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping.
Interestingly, the call for withdrawal of cases was first raised at a Hindu-Muslim panchayat held in Bulandshahr in January in which it was decided that both side would take back 20 cases. Thereafter, a delegation of Khap Chaudharis from Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, led by BJP Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjiv Balyan, met CM Yogi Adityanath on February 5 with a list of 171 cases and sought their withdrawl as they were 'petty' in nature.
"Eight cases were lodged against women also, on charges of preventing police from arresting menfolk of the house," the delegation had said.
The delegation had highlighted the resentment among people over reports that cases against the BJP leaders would be withdrawn and demanded that alleged fake cases lodged against the public during the riots should also been taken back.
The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in August and September 2013 had claimed more than 65 lives while over 40,000 people were displaced. Following the violence, over 500 cases were registered against around 1,455 persons at police stations in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli by the then SP government.
After the khap delegation met the CM last month, the state law ministry wrote a letter to DMs of Muzzafarnagar and Shamli seeking their opinion on withdrawal of cases lodged during the 2013 riots in public interest with adequate reason focusing on 13 different points. Thereafter, the ministry shot off another letter with to the DMs seeking the status of the cases. The DMs, reportedly, forwarded the letter to the SP and the prosecuting officer for the required details.
But the fact 131 cases being considered for withdrawal are not just petty in nature, has raised eyebrows . The list reportedly also has 13 cases of murder and 11 of attempt to murder, two cases of kidnapping and 55 cases of dacoity.
Besides, 85 cases are related IPC Section 436 for mischief by fire or explosive substance also figure in the list.
Earlier, following the announcement of withdrawal of political cases, UP government had sought information on the possibility of withdrawing nine criminal cases pending in a court against BJP leaders in connection with 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The cases were filed against UP minister Suresh Rana, former Union minister Sanjiv Balyan, party MP Bhartendu Singh, MLA Umesh Malik and Sadhvi Prachi.
Though the letter then written by senior law department official did not mention the names of the BJP leaders but the file numbers of the cases mentioned pertained to them.