Meerut:In the first major verdict pertaining to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots cases, a Muzaffarnagar court has acquitted 10 people who had been charged with arson and murder of a 10-year-old boy and a 30-year-old woman in Lonk village of the district on September 8, 2013. The BJP erupted in celebrations soon after upper district judge Arvind Kumar Upadhyaya let off all the accused for want of evidence.
Soon after the incident three years ago, the SIT probing the riots had found 10 persons responsible for the crime. A case was registered against them at the Phugana police station and the accused were named.
At a time when assembly bypoll to the Muzaffarnagar seat is just a week ahead, on February 13, the verdict has come as a shot in the arm for the BJP. Suresh Rana, one of the main accused in the riots and BJP MLA from Thana Bhawan in Shamli district, said, “The verdict has exposed the reality in front of the public. Thousands of innocent Hindus had been framed in the riots by the local administration at the behest of the ruling Samajwadi Party. Such was the blatant misuse of power that 11 persons named as accused were not even alive at that point of time. The verdict will go a long way in teaching a lesson to the Samajwadi Party, especially as it heads for the 2017 UP assembly elections.”
Rihana Adeeb, director, Astitva, an NGO working towards the rehabilitation of riot victims, said, “A woman was killed, a child was murdered. Arson also took place. This is a fact and no one can deny it. If these men did not commit the crime, someone did. I cannot challenge the court verdict, but we had a lot of faith in the legal system. This is utterly sad.”