The rioting had taken place in the village of Union Minister of State Dr. Sanjeev Balyan
NEW DELHI — A local court acquitted 20 people accused in the case of rioting, arson and loot in a case related to 2013 anti-Muslim riots of Muzzafarnagar on the grounds of lack of evidence and witness turning hostile.
Muzaffarnagar, in the western part of Uttar Pradesh, witnessed in August–September 2013 one of India’s worst riots that resulted in at least 62 deaths including 42 Muslims and 20 Hindus.
The acquittal has come for the rioting that had taken place in Kutbi, the village of Union Minister of State Dr. Sanjeev Balyan.
A mob of 100 men while raising provocative slogans set fire to the home of Haji Sirajuddin, on September 8, 2013 while he was at home with his family. He had also alleged that they plundered his home in the attack.
According to Jagran, Sirajuddin had identified the accused as Kala, Ravi, Pushpendra, Deepak alias Kumar, Pradeep, Vishwajeet, Pappu alias Varan, Mamat alias Dharampal, Rakal alias Fermipal, Gokshvad alias Saurabh, Nikhil, Akash, Neeriwal, Kuldeep, Neetu, Kala alias Chandrakant, Pawan, Sonu alias Gaurav, Ranjha alias Rajpal, Ompal and Sachin.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) had charge sheeted the 21 accused under IPC’s sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), 392 (robbery), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) and 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class). One accused died while the case was pending in the court.
However, the Additional district & sessions judge Baburam acquitted them, saying the prosecution failed to provide evidence against them. “All the witnesses and complainant turned hostile in the matter,” said district government counsel (DGC) Rajeev Sharma.
So far, the courts have acquitted 1,117 people accused in 97 cases related to murder, rape, robbery and arson connected with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.