HC blow to UP govt move in terror case

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s decision to withdraw cases against terror accused suffered a major blow on Friday as the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court stayed the move and referred the matter to a larger bench.

The vacation bench comprising justices Rajiv Sharma and Mahendra Dayal directed the state government to check with the Central government if the latter was in favour of withdrawal of the cases since many of the provisions under which the accused were booked are central legislations.

The court also asked the government to furnish a list of the accused. The court listed the matter for further hearing after six weeks.

The court’s decision, which was delivered while hearing a PIL, comes as a major blow to the Akhilesh Yadav regime which has been trying hard to withdraw cases against the terror accused in an apparent bid to appease the Muslim community. Akhilesh, while reacting to the court order, said the government had performed its duty. “We did what we could...we will study the court order and take a suitable decision,” he added.

State BJP chief Luxmi Kant Bajpai, however, welcomed the court’s decision, saying that the government’s move was nothing but an attempt to “appease” the Muslim community ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.

The SP had in its election manifesto promised that it would ensure release of “innocent” Muslim youths who have been languishing in the jails on terror charges.

Earlier, a Barabanki district court had rejected the government’s application to withdraw terror charges against Gorakhpur serial blasts accused Tariq Kasmi and Khalid Mujahid. Mujahid later died on the way back following a court appearance in Faizabad.

Previously, the government had tried to withdraw cases slapped on the Varanasi blast accused. The district authorities in Varanasi had strongly opposed such action.

The government’s move, which was clearly aimed at gaining political mileage, also invited the wrath of the court.

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