SP mulls withdrawing riot cases, plans to win back Muslim leaders

SP mulls withdrawing riot cases, plans to win back Muslim leaders

Withdrawing cases against all Muslims (cutting across party affiliations) implicated in the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar, is one of the many moves the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh intends to take to placate the Muslim community, which is electorally crucial for Samajwadi Party (SP).

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was leaving no stone unturned to placate the community. His government had been pushed on the back foot by the recent communal riots
in Muzaffarnagar and is perturbed over the strong reaction among Muslims over forced eviction of the displaced riot victims from the relief camps.

Sends feelers

SP leaders here say that the move was aimed at sending a message to the Muslim community that the state government was committed to make sure that no Muslim leader, even those from the other political parties, was implicated falsely in the riot related cases.

They also say that the decision, if it fructifies, may well draw Muslim leaders from other parties to the SP.

Switch loyalty

Already the speculations are rife that the BSP Lok Sabha member from Muzaffarnagar Quadir Rana was likely to switch loyalty and could be given a nomination by the Samajwadi Party. Quadir Rana was among one of the riot accused.

The government was considering withdrawing criminal cases against 10 riot accused. These included Quadir Rana, BSP legislator Noor Salim Rana and Congress leader Sayeedujjama. Cases had been registered against all these leaders for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches in Muzaffarnagar on August 30 last year, barely a few days before the riots had broken out in the district. Government officials had then claimed that they had video footage of the speeches and FIRs had been registered against them in this regard.

Govt under pressure

SP sources here said that the government was under tremendous pressure from Muslim outfits and also from Muslim leaders of the party, who feel that the government has erred in dealing with the displaced riot victims.

Even the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's wariness on this count was visible quite clearly during his address at the party's recent rally in Budaon, which has a sizable Muslim population.

Mulayam left no stone unturned to portray Modi as ‘anti-muslim’ and reminded the community about the Gujarat communal riots to drive home the message that he needed to be stopped and only the SP could do it.

No functions on Friday

He even went on to declare that henceforth the SP would not hold any programme on Friday as Muslims find it difficult to attend the functions on the day as they have to offer special prayers on Friday.

Sources in the party said that SP’s 48 Muslim leaders from Muzaffarnagar had sent in their papers in protest against the government’s failure to contain the violence.

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