Muzaffarnagar: The district authorities are preparing to withdraw the 18 cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots upon directions from the Uttar Pradesh government, sources said. The directive was undertaken after the state government sought details of 125 cases filed in view of the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.

The matter was dealt with by the Special Secretary of Law, JJ Singh, who had directed Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Rajeev Sharma to withdraw the riot-related cases. The said cases were registered under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code such as section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) and 397 (attempt to cause death), added the sources.

The details of the 125 pending cases were sought by the Uttar Pradesh government to review the possibility of withdrawing them, claimed Additional district magistrate Amit Kumar. Some of the BJP leaders who were named in the cases include MP Sanjeev Balyan, MP Bharatendra Singh, MLA Sangeet Som and MLA Umesh Malik. Other ministers in the state government who were accused in cases related to the riots are Suresh Rana and Hindutva leader Sadhvi Prachi.

Notably, the cases which were asked to be withdrawn do not include the names of the BJP leaders. In total, the SIT had filed charge sheets in 175 such cases. The SIT was formed by the state government to probe into the Muzaffarnagar riot cases. So far police have registered cases against 6,869 people and arrested 1,480 people in connection with the riots. According to the SIT, 418 accused have been acquitted in 54 cases due to lack of evidence.

Communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in August and September 2013 had claimed 60 lives and displaced over 40,000 people. It is alleged that the accused participated in a ‘Mahapanchayat’ at Nagla Mandor and incited violence through their speeches.

(With PTI inputs)