Akhilesh Yadav government accused of going soft on riot-accused Muslim leaders
Muzaffarnagar – Uttar Pradesh’s Akhilesh Yadav government has reportedly initiated a process to drop cases against Muslim leaders accused in the September Muzaffarnagar riots, in a move seen by the opposition as an attempt to regain the community’s support ahead of the national election due by May.
NDTV has accessed the state law department’s letter to the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate, asking whether the hate speech cases against BSP’s Kadir Rana, Noor Salim Rana and Maulana Jameel, and the Congress’ Sayed Ud Zaman can be withdrawn.
The law department’s letter, written under the telltale subject line “withdrawal of allegations”, asks whether there is enough evidence against these leaders.
These politicians were caught on camera making inflammatory speeches at a gathering on August 30, called after the killing of a Muslim youth by two Jat brothers at the village Kanwal, which was the inception point of the communal clashes that left nearly 50 dead and 40,000 displaced in Muzaffarnagar.
This gathering led to a retaliatory meeting, or mahapanchayat, on September 7, which was followed by the worst riots the state had seen in recent times. Politicians belonging to the BJP, BSP and Congress were among more than 200 people booked for fueling the violence.
Thousands of people living in relief camps for three months are now being asked to return to their villages, though rioters are still roaming free. The ruling Samajwadi Party had alleged that those still living in the camps were planted by their political rivals to show the government in poor light.
The BJP has accused the state government of trying to regain the confidence of Muslims, who have accused the government of failing to protect them, by dropping cases against leaders from the community.
“This is a clear cut case of minority appeasement by the SP government,” said the BJP’s Vinay katiyar.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary responded, “It is a policy of the government to withdraw cases against those who we think have been falsely implicated.”