Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government told Allahabad High Court today it has “denied permission” for the chief minister’s trial in the 2007 Gorakhpur Riots case.
High Court had earlier rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for delaying a sanction to prosecute CM Adityanath. It had summoned UP chief secretary last week and directed him to bring all documents related to the 2007 Gorakhpur riots, in which the then local MP and current chief minister Yogi Adityanath was named as an accused.
A division bench of justices Ramesh Sinha and Umesh Chandra Srivastava had directed the chief secretary to appear in person today and file a personal affidavit, besides producing all documents relating to the riots, and the sanction given by state government to prosecute the accused.
The order was passed on a petition filed by Parvez Parwaz, the complainant in the FIR that was lodged at Cantt police station of Gorakhpur in connection with the riots, and Asad Hayat, a witness in the case.
The petitioners had raised apprehensions that probing agency CB-CID may not conduct an impartial inquiry. A request was made to issue directions to hand over the investigation to an independent agency.
“The person against whom sanction for prosecution has been granted by the state government has himself become the head of the state,” SFA Naqvi, the petitioner’s counsel, had argued. He was responding to an affidavit filed by the CB-CID wherein it had been stated that the state government had granted sanction, under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (inciting communal violence), to prosecute all those who have been named in the FIR including Yogi Adityanath, the then Gorakhpur Mayor Anju Chaudhary and local BJP MLA Radha Mohan Das Agarwal.
In January 2007, a young Hindu boy, Raj Kumar Agrahari, was hospitalised following clashes between a group of Hindus and Muslims during a Muharram procession in Gorakhpur.
Yogi Adityanath, the then Gorakhpur MP, was instructed by the District Magistrate to not visit the site as it may create tensions. And while Adityanath initially agreed, he eventually defied the DM’s order when Agrahari succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
Adityanath announced a “non-violent dharna” at the site, with a group of followers at his side. But inflammatory speeches were made and some of his followers went on to set fire to a nearby mausoleum.
To control the rapidly worsening situation, local police imposed a curfew, but Adityanath broke it too. He was subsequently arrested and jailed for a fortnight on charges of disturbing peace.
His arrest, however, only added fuel to the searing communal tension in the city. Several coaches of the Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan Express were burnt, allegedly by protesting Hindu Yuva Vahini activists.
The tensions escalated to riots across Gorakhpur, during which various mosques, homes, buses and trains were burned to a crisp. At least 10 people had died in the riots.