Muzaffarnagar (UP): Eight years since the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, as many as 1,117 people accused in 97 cases related to murder, rape, robbery and arson among others connected to the violence have been acquitted over lack of evidence.
Seven people were convicted in a single case related to the murder of two youths, Sachin and Gaurav, in Kawal village in the district.
This, together with the stabbing to death of another person, Shahnawaz, on August 27, 2013 by six people had triggered the riots, according to police.
A special investigation team (SIT) was set up by the state government to look into the riots cases.
According to officials of the SIT, police had registered 510 cases against 1,480 people and filed chargesheets in 175 cases.
An official of the SIT said that over the years, 97 cases have been decided by a court which has acquitted 1,117 people accused in those due to lack of evidence.
The prosecution has not filed an appeal in any of these cases, he said.
The seven people convicted in the Kawal village double-murder case were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The SIT could not file chargesheets in 20 cases under sections 153A and 295A of the IPC since it did not get permission for prosecution from the state government.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to withdraw 77 cases related to the riots, but the court has given permission for withdrawal in just one case which is against 12 BJP leaders, including Uttar Pradesh minister Suresh Rana, BJP MLA Sangit Som, former BJP MP Bhartendu Singh and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi.
SIT officials said 264 accused in the riots cases were facing trial at present.
Over 60 people were killed and more than 40,000 displaced during the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.