The Yogi Adityanath government has moved to withdraw a case against BJP leaders, including three MLAs, who are accused of making inflammatory speeches at a Maha Panchayat, held at the Nagla Mandor village in Muzaffarnagar in September 2013.
The accused in the case filed at the Shikheda police station include Sangeet Som, MLA from Sardhana (Meerut), Suresh Rana, MLA from Thana Bhawan (Shamli), and Kapil Dev, who represents the Muzaffarnagar Sadar seat in the Assembly. Another accused in the case is Hindu leader Sadhvi Prachi.
The BJP leaders were also accused of violating the prohibitory orders, entering into arguments with the government machinery, and involvement in arson.
Government counsel, Muzaffarnagar, Rajeev Sharma said a “withdrawal application in the case has been moved in the court concerned, and the matter is still pending”.
On September 7, 2013, the Jat community called a Maha Panchayat at an intermediate college at the Nagla Mandor village to decide on the next course of action in the murder of two youths in the Kawaal village on August 27, 2013.
The youths, Sachin and Gaurav, were lynched by a Muslim mob soon after they had killed a Muslim youth, Shahnawaz Qureshi.
Riots broke out after the people returned from the Maha Panchayat were attacked.
The violence spread to other areas in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts.
Sixty-five people were killed and around 50,000 were displaced. A total of 510 criminal cases were registered and charge sheets were filed in 175 cases. In the remaining cases, the police have either filed closure reports or expunged the case.
The case in connection with the Maha Panchayat was filed by the then station house officer of Shikheda police station, Charan Singh Yadav, on September 7, 2013.
Forty people, including Sangeet Som, Suresh Rana, Kapil Dev, Sadhvi Prachi, and former MP Harendra Singh Malik, were accused of giving inflammatory speeches against a community, violating prohibitory orders, holding a Maha Panchayat without obtaining permission from the district administration, creating obstruction to deter public servants from performing their duty, and setting a motorcycle on fire, as per the records.
The accused were booked under IPC Sections 188 (joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, etc., and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 341 (wrongful restraint), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage).
The Special Investigation Team formed by the then Akhilesh government filed charge sheets against 14 accused, including the BJP leaders.
In February 2018, a delegation of khap leaders, led by BJP MP Sanjiv Balyan, met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow and urged him to withdraw cases against the Hindus in connection with the Muzaffarnagar riots.
The state government later began the process of withdrawing cases by seeking details from the Muzaffarnagar and Shamli district administrations under 13 points, including in this case.
The government also sought opinion on the withdrawal of cases from the District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and senior prosecuting officer.