On Thursday (22nd February), the Allahabad High Court bench comprising of Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Akhilesh Chandra Sharma found no discrepancy in the investigation of the 2007 Gorakhpur riots hate speech case, and dismissed a writ petition challenging the UP government’s refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Petitioners in this case were Parwez Parvaz and Asad Hayat whose plea was for the investigation of the riots to be handed over to an independent agency. The petitioners had last year, through their counsel S Farman Naqvi, challenged the state government’s refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Adityanath.
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.”
In May last year the UP government 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 government grants or refuses sanction to prosecute a riot accused in cases of incitement of communal riots. 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 Gorakhpur incident dates back to January 2007 when riots broke out between two groups during a Muharram procession. According to the 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.
An FIR was registered on September 26, 2008 following an intervention of the High Court.