The Supreme Court has agreed to examine an appeal from the Bihar government against the acquittal of Kameshwar Prasad Yadav in the 1989 Bhagalpur communal riots in which over 1,000 people had lost their lives.
Yadav was acquitted by the Patna High Court in June this year in a case related to the killing of a Muslim teenager. The high court had set aside the life-term awarded to him by a trial court in the murder case.
Yadav (58) was convicted by a Bhagalpur court on 6 November 2009, after Nitish Kumar-led government had decided to reopen the riots cases in 2006.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan admitted the appeal of the state government and directed an expeditious hearing in the case.
Senior advocate K T S Tulsi and advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for the state, contended that the high court had "erroneously" set aside the conviction order on the ground of delay in lodging of the FIR.
The senior advocate said it was a settled law that in cases pertaining to communal riots, the delay in FIR has to be seen in the light of the fact that the city was in turmoil and people were apprehensive and afraid of coming forward to depose against the perpetrators of crime.
Alam claimed that Yadav's presence with arms at the spot cannot be disputed as the statements of victim Md Qayamuddin's father and brother, who were eye-witnesses to the crime, corroborates with testimonies of other independent witnesses.
Yadav, who was first arrested in 2007, had been acquitted in separate three riot case and after the high court's June this year order in the case, he had walked out of jail in July this year.
He was booked in the case by Bhagalpur Police in 1990, over three months after the murder, on a complaint lodged by Qayamuddin's father.
The Nitish Kumar government in 2005 had decided to reopen 27 Bhagalpur riots cases in which over 1,000 people were killed in the violence that had started on 24 October 1989, in over a dozen villages there.
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