Why UP Govt. Not Willing to Challenge Muzaffarnagar Riots Acquittals in Higher Court, Asks Jamaat
If the UP government does not act then it will be the responsibility of all justice loving people and organizations to persuade the UP government and pursue all legal options for ensuring justice to victims.
New Delhi, July 22— Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has expressed concern over the acquittals in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots cases and questioned why the prosecution didn’t cross-examine the police when witnesses were turning hostile and why the current state government is not willing to challenge the acquittals in the higher courts.
“During the Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) riots in August-September 2013, more than 60 people were killed and over 50,000 displaced. Killings, gang-rapes, rioting and arson took place against Muslims during the riots. 40 cases went to trial related to these incidents. Of those 40 cases, four were related to gang-rapes, ten were related to murders and 26 pertaining to rioting. The trials of these cases commenced when the Samajwadi Party was in power in Uttar Pradesh and went on for the next few years till the current BJP term. An investigation by the media reveals that between January 2017 and February 2019, all accused (168 people) in the 40 cases have been acquitted by the local court,” said JIH President Syed Sadatullah Husaini in a press statement Sunday evening.
An by The Indian Express has revealed that “All the 40 acquittals have come in cases involving attacks on Muslims.” In the 10 deaths cases, 53 men were accused. All of them have walked free. Besides, accused in 4 cases of gang-rapes and 26 cases of rioting have also been acquitted.
In the last six years after the riots, conviction has occurred in only one case – the case that is said to have triggered the riots. The English daily’s report says: “The only conviction came on February 8 this year, when the sessions court sentenced seven accused — Muzammil, Mujassim, Furkan, Nadeem, Janangir, Afzal and Ikbal — to life in prison for the murder of cousins Gaurav and Sachin in Kawal village on August 27, 2013, the incident that is said to have triggered the riots.” Following the killing of the two youths, a large-scale rioting erupted in Muzaffarnagar in early September 2013, killing over 50 people and displacing over 50,000 others. Media reports say the two cousins were killed in revenge of killing of another youth Shahnawaz. Shahnawaz’s father had made Gaurav and Sachin and their family as accused in the murder case.
The report has cited various reasons behind the acquittals: Five prosecution witnesses did a U-turn in court and testified that they were not present when their relatives were murdered — while the FIRs mentioned otherwise. Six prosecution witnesses turned hostile and deposed that police forced them to sign blank papers. Police did not produce murder weapons in court in five cases.
JIH president said: “We want to know why the prosecution never cross-examined police on this and despite acquittals in all the 40 cases why the Uttar Pradesh government is not planning to challenge them in the higher courts. The reason for not pursuing the case and inability to challenge the acquittals cited by the District Government Counsel, Muzaffarnagar seems to be very unconvincing and this attitude of the government will not give a good message to the victims and their families. It is the job of the government to pursue justice to all its citizens irrespective of their caste and creed.”
The Jamaat chief demanded the UP government to challenge the acquittals in higher courts. “If the UP government does not do so then it will be the responsibility of all justice loving people and organizations to persuade the UP government and pursue all legal options for ensuring that justice is awarded to the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots,” he added.