The Samajwadi Party government is reported to be pondering over a plan to withdraw cases filed against Muslim leaders for allegedly delivering hate speeches, in the context of the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in Uttar Pradesh in September last.
Sources said the government asked the administration of the two districts whether the cases could be withdrawn in public interest. The cases were filed for their alleged role in inciting communal passions after a Muslim youth and two Jats were killed over alleged eve-teasing at Kawal on August 27.
However, the move has not been officially confirmed.
The government’s letter to the district administration was related to the August 30 panchayat at Khalapar in Muzaffarnagar, sources said.
The panchayat, held after the Friday or ‘Juma’ prayers, was addressed by Bahujan Samaj Party MP from Kairana Qadir Rana; his brother and party MLA Noor Saleem Rana; another BSP MLA Maulana Jameel; the former Congress Minister, Saeed-uz-Zaman; and other Muslim leaders. Cases were filed against them for defying prohibitory orders and for allegedly delivering hate speeches. Arrest warrants were issued against them. Mr. Qadir Rana was freed on bail after his arrest in December.
Meanwhile, Minister for Prisons and Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary pointed to the manifesto for the 2012 Assembly elections and said the party had maintained that innocent persons facing charges would be released. He was talking to journalists here. But he did not mention any plan to withdraw the cases against Muslim leaders.
The Khalapar panchayat was followed by the ‘Bahu-beti bachao panchayat’ on September 7. It was addressed by BJP and Bhartiya Kisan Union leaders. Communal violence erupted in Muzaffarnagar on September 7, and it spread to neighbouring Shamli. The large-scale rioting claimed 65 lives.
As per official estimates, 51,000 persons were rendered homeless and were sheltered in relief camps.