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Madhya Pradesh court acquits nine accused in 2013 Harda riots

Madhya Pradesh court acquits nine accused in 2013 Harda riots

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh court has acquitted nine persons accused in the 2013 Harda riots case for burning 50 Muslim homes and shops alleging them of cow slaughtering in Madhya Pradesh.

Special Judge Vivek Agarwal of the trial court in Harda District has acquitted nine out of 12 accused in 2013 riots of Khirkiya tehsil in Harda district stating the deposition of witnesses does establish that the accused have committed the crime.

The decision comes prior to Apex Court’s hearing on 17 July on a petition filed by social activist Anurag Modi.

Accusing former BJP minister Anurag Kamal Patel and his son Sudip were behind the riots that took place in Madhya Pradesh’s Kheda and Pahatgaon villages, which burnt around 50 Muslim houses and shops alleging them for slaughtering of a cow. The autopsy reports later revealed the animal was not slaughtered and that it died to consuming polythene bags.

Activist Anurag Modi first moved to Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking CBI investigation against the former Minister and his son, but the High Court stating the investigation in the case was complete, dismissed his plea.

Following which Anurag moved to Supreme Court with his petition that proper investigations have not been carried out in the 2013 Harda riots, the Apex Court directed Madhya Pradesh Government to submit charge sheet along with the translated copy of the same.

The Supreme Court has earlier directed the Investigation Officers to appear before the court on 17 July.

There are about 12 rioting cases with Chhipabad Police Station.

Hearing the case Special Judge Vivek Agarwal acquitted nine of the 12 accused, said deposition of the witnesses does not prove the accused committed the crime since most of the prosecution witnesses were not present and fled.

Sayeed Khan lodged a complaint with Police stating that “A mob of 400 to 500 people shouting ‘Gai katne walonke haath kat do (chop the hands of cow slaughters)’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ entered our house and shoved a rod into the diesel tank of the tractor. They used the diesel to set vehicles and the house on fire.’’

The Police later charged Surendra alias Tiger Gopal Singh, a self-proclaimed Gauraksha Commando Force chief and 11 others under charges of rioting, trespass and arson.

When Sayeed was examined in court, he said he cannot identify the accuse who burned his house.

Representing the accused, Defence lawyer Prakash Tank, on Sayeed’s statement, said, neither the police nor the prosecution was serious about the trial.