Sources said that Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, in a report signed by the district police chief and investigating officer told the Uttar Pradesh government that any move to withdraw cases against the accused, including Bahujan Samaj Party parliamentarian Qadir Rana, was "not tenable".

In response to a letter from special secretary (Law) Rangnath Pandey on plausibility and probability of withdrawing cases against minority leaders, Sharma in his report said this was not possible since till now even the investigation was not over. The district officials also said that any such move could only be initiated when the matters have reached the courts.

Reports of the government move have drawn flak from the opposition parties and they have accused the Akhilesh Yadav government of trying to appease the minorities and imperiling the judicial process against the perpetrators of Muzaffarnagar riots, which claimed over 60 lives.

Faced with criticism, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav later clarified that the state government only sought opinion from the district administration and added that this should not be construed as withdrawal of cases.

The September 2013 communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring Meerut and Shamli had left 63 dead and thousands homeless. Social organizations, civil society and minority organizations have criticized the state government for its failure in containing the violence and the subsequent tardy rehabilitation process.

(Agencies)

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