Yogi Adityanath hate speech case: Allahabad High Court dismisses petition against UP CM

Feb 22:Finding no discrepancy in the investigation of the 2007 Gorakhpur riots hate speech case, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition challenging the Uttar Pradesh government's refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
A division bench, comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Akhilesh Chandra Sharma, on Thursday dismissed the plea by petitioners Parwez Parvaz and Asad Hayat who wanted the investigation of the riots to be handed over to an independent agency, like the Central Bureau of Investigation, because the state was "deliberately delaying and impeding investigation". The petitioners had last year, through their counsel S Farman Naqvi, challenged the state government's refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Adityanath.
The bench said, "In the facts and circumstances discussed, we find no material irregularities in holding investigation and state government's refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Yogi Adityanath. Therefore, the writ petition has hereby dismissed. No cost has been imposed."
Farman Naqvi, counsel for the petitioners, said, "This is a hopelessly disappointing judgement and the findings are illegal and contrary to facts. We will file an appeal in the Supreme Court against this order."
Naqvi added, "There were glaring discrepancies in the investigation of the video evidence of the hate speech by Adityanath, yet the petition has been dismissed."
UP additional government advocate A Sand said, "We had presented our case and the fact that the evidence was tampered with so we have no grounds to grant sanction to prosecute. The court has found no discrepancies in the case which were raised."
The UP government had, in May last year, refused to allow the accused - five-time Gorakhpur MP and now UP CM Yogi Adityanath and four others - to be prosecuted for inciting communal violence on grounds that the CD, which was presented since 2008 as primary evidence of the hate speech, had been "tampered" with.
The state government had also said in its affidavit to the court that this conclusion was arrived at by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in October 2014. It also mentioned that voice samples were not directly taken from Adityanath but those taken by the Pipraich station in-charge from some other speech of Adityanath.
In cases of inciting communal riots, the government is supposed to grant or refuse sanction to prosecute a riot accused. In this case, the head of the state, the CM, had the power to grant or refuse sanction to prosecute himself, something the petitioners have been challenging since May. The petitioners highlighted "the imminent bias arising in the legal process by virtue of the changed circumstances of the prime accused becoming the CM of the state overseeing the investigation of the case". Successive governments from the time of the incident in 2007 did not prosecute the accused either.
The Gorakhpur incident dates back to January 2007 when clashes broke out between two groups during a Muharram procession. According to an FIR, after a youth who was injured in the clashes succumbed to his injuries, then Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath delivered speeches, allegedly seeking "revenge" for the death of the Hindu youth. Parwez Parvaz, a local journalist and activist, who claimed to have videos of these speeches, could not get an FIR registered against Adityanath and four other BJP leaders for a year since police allegedly kept turning him away. An FIR was registered a year later on September 26, 2008 following the intervention of the High Court.
The court also, since November last year, barred the media from reporting on the proceedings of the case citing "wrong reporting", which has been "causing lot of embarrassment" to the state of Uttar Pradesh after it was "point(ed)" out to them by the state government that "observations are reported out of context and very often misquoted". Agencies
Source: Agencies



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