New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw its Oct 26 notification under which compensation and rehabilitation was limited to Muzaffarnagar riot victims of a particular community.
Having asked the Uttar Pradesh government to withdraw the controversial notification, the apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi took on record the statement by senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan that the notification will be withdrawn and the government will revise it, which will apply universally.
Dhawan who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government offered to withdraw the notification as counsel M.L. Sharma, representing a petitioner, pointed to discrimination in the distribution of compensation and rehabilitation of the riot victims.
The court also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to release 15 tractors of farmers that are in police custody. The court asked the state government to compensate the farmer whose sugarcane crops and tube wells were damaged during the riots.
The court order came in response to submission by senior counsel Pinki Anand, representing another petitioner, who told the court farmers were unable to cultivate their land as their tractors were not being released by the police. She said that irrigation too was getting affected as some tube wells are damaged.
At this, Chief Justice Sathasivam said he was also a farmer and can understand their plight. He said no agricultural activity could be done without tractors.
The apex court order came in the course of the hearing of a batch of petitions seeking rehabilitation of the victims without any discrimination and a probe into the events leading to the riots and lack of prompt police response in quelling the communal clashes.
Communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring areas of Shamli and Meerut between Sep 6 and 10 left 63 people dead and rendered more than 43,000 people homeless.