HC seeks state’s response on move to drop Varanasi blast cases

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday sought the response of the state government on a petition challenging its proposed move to withdraw cases against the accused in the Varanasi serial blasts of March 7, 2006.

The court has fixed November 27 as the next date of hearing.

The petition has been filed by Nityanand Chaubey, an advocate and social activist from Varanasi. He has already filed a petition challenging the state government's proposed move to withdraw cases against the accused in the Rampur CRPF camp attack case of 2007.

The petitioner's counsel, Shashi Shankar Tiwari, said the court intended to connect the two petitions since they had similar prayers and raised the same questions.

"But we requested the court to hear the two petitions separately as the incidents had occurred in different places at different times and the state government too had issued separate notifications seeking the report of the district administration concerned on the possibility of withdrawing the cases against the accused. The court has agreed with our prayer," said Tiwari.

The court, while hearing the other petition related to the CRPF camp attack case, gave the state government counsel one week more to seek instructions and fixed the matter for November 29.

The petition related to the Varanasi blasts has pointed out that three blasts - at Sankat Mochan temple, Dashashwamedha Ghat and Varanasi cantonment railway station - occurred on March 7, 2006. At least 21 people were killed and more than 100 injured. The police had arrested an alleged operative of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) in this connection. The petitioner has prayed that the high court direct the state government to quash the notification issued on October 31, in which a report on the possibility of withdrawing cases against accused in the Varanasi blasts was sought.

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