The scuttling of 131 criminal cases against 500-odd persons will create a dangerous precedent.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath seems determined to stay on a course of triumphalism ever since his party was elected with a huge majority and he moved from New Delhi to head the state. While there’s nothing wrong in celebrating political triumphs, what is worrying are the decisions the victors may take. Take, for instance, the UP government’s starting the process of withdrawing criminal cases over the 2013 Muzaffarnagar and Shamli riots. People of one community were indiscriminately killed in these instances of naked bloodletting, and survivors have long left the places targeted, to resettle away from nightmarish locations. Thirteen cases relate to murder in just one village, Qutba, in Muzaffarnagar, where people were hacked to death, while others relate to arson, attempt to murder and damage to property.
The claim that such cases were foisted for political reasons is specious. What the government is doing is to find a way to pardon murder and rioting by a section of the ruling party’s supporters, particularly as it comes after representations from Khaps to withdraw cases. The scuttling of 131 criminal cases against 500-odd persons will create a dangerous precedent. Charged with such grave offences, they can’t all walk free with a virtual amnesty, in such a show of political power. And to think that UP has so much to achieve in sectors where it’s been found wanting — as in public healthcare, conveyed by the shocking death rate among toddlers, as well as in education, besides providing law and order to ensure the safety of women.