Akhilesh clarifies on withdrawing riot cases against Muslim leaders

Lucknow, Jan 6 (IANS) Under heavy opposition fire on his government’s move to withdraw cases against Muslim leaders for their alleged role in the Muzaffarnagar riots, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Monday said a final decision would be taken only after a threadbare scrutiny of the cases.

He told reporters that for now his government had only sought a report on the matter from the district officials of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
“We have just sought opinion from the officials of these two districts, we will take a final decision later,” he said while refuting charges the state government of the Samajwadi Party (SP) was indulging in politics of appeasement to garner votes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“Seeking opinion does not mean that cases are being withdrawn,” the chief minister said, adding that no innocent would be prosecuted in the Muzaffarnagar cases.
The state government reportedly initiated a move to withdraw cases against some Muslim leaders, including Bahujan Samaj Party MP Qadir Rana, wanted in a case for making inflammatory speech and inciting mobs.
Prisons Minister and close confidante of the chief minister, Rajendra Chowdhary, earlier admitted the move.
Saying this was a long-standing policy of the SP, he said the government was committed to ensuring no minority leader or person was falsely implicated in riot cases.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the SP government for the move and called it very detrimental to the state’s social fabric.
“The riots in Muzaffarnagar began due to poor handling by the SP government, continued for several days due to the same government and now by trying to play judge on who is guilty and who is not, the government is only prolonging the pain of the riot victims,” said BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak.
Over 60 people were killed in riots in Muzaffarnagar and nearby areas in September 2013, while more than 43,000 were displaced.