Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s plan to woo Muslim voters has run into rough weather with a local trial court rejecting the Samajwadi Party government’s decision to withdraw terror cases against two youths from the minority community, allegedly involved in blasts at three differ places in the state.
The order came on Friday by a court in Barabanki, about 30 km from Lucknow, where Tari Qasim and Khalid Mujahid were facing trial for their alleged involvement in twin blasts in Lucknow and Faizabad on May 22, 2007, followed by another blast in Gorakhpur in November 23, 2007. Six persons were wounded in the blast at Gorakhpur. There were no injuries in the other blasts.
In keeping with the Samajwadi Party election manifesto, whereby a promise was made to save innocent Muslim youths from undue harassment by booking them in false terror cases, the Akhilesh government decided to withdraw such cases. The move was seen as one aimed at consolidating Muslim votes.
As such, the state government on April 26, moved an application before the special court in Barabanki for withdrawal of the cases against the two accused. However, the plea was turned down by the court, when it came for hearing on Friday. The trial was being held in Barabanki because both the accused were arrested there.
Apart from citing technical reasons, the court held that the request for withdrawal of such serious cases did not appear to be in public interest.
Defence counsel Mohammad Shoeb however claimed, “The technical reasons cited by the court are baseless.” According to him, without citing any law, the court had rejected the application on the ground that it was not submitted in a sealed packet nor was it accompanied with an affidavit.
It may be recalled that the Special Task Force claimed to have arrested the two youths from Barabanki on December 22, 2007. However, their families charged the police of picking them up from their houses in Azamgarh and subsequently showing their arrests from Barabanki. Even an independent R D Nimesh Commission set up by the Mayawati government has expressed doubts over the claim made by the police.