Popular Front of India General Secretary M Mohammed Ali Jinnah has expressed disappointment over the reports that culprits were acquitted in 40 of total 41 cases of Muzaffarnagar riots in which verdicts have been delivered by the courts. Only one case in which there was conviction, the accused were Muslims. He sought re-investigation of all Muzaffarnagar cases under direct supervision of Hon’ble Supreme Court.
The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots were largest anti-Muslim violence witnessed by the country since 2002 Gujarat genocide. At least 63 people were killed in the violence, houses were set on fire, women were raped and many thousands were displaced. Though multiple factors have contributed to such a large scale acquittals, in many cases police helped escape culprits through deliberate lapses in inquiry. The witnesses, mostly the relatives of the victims, were threatened and bribed into turning hostile in the courts. Those who refused to budge were further attacked.
Reportedly, the prosecution is not willing to pursue the cases further by filing appeals in the higher courts. Along with pressure from U P government, the lack of support from the witnesses is also stated as a reason for not filing appeals. If that is going to be the end of the matter, the possibility of getting justice in Muzaffarnagar riots has become nearly nonexistent. Mass acquittals in such a large scale incident of violence against a section of the population constitute massive travesty of justice that is leading to loss of faith in justice delivery system of the country. Such a situation must be avoided at any cost.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah appealed rights groups and voluntary organizations to come forward to stand with the families of the victims to fight the cases again. He also called on the prosecution to carry the cases forward to higher courts and ensure that every culprit is punished and every victim gets justice.