Sanjeev Kumar Balyan is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a Member of Parliament from the Muzaffarnagar constituency in 2014 and 2019. Currently, he is the minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, and Dairying in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
Balyan is a principal accused of inciting anti-Muslim violence during the Muzaffarnagar riots in September 2013. He was part of a mahapanchayat that was held despite prohibitory orders and inflamed tensions that left at least 62 people dead, mostly Muslims, and displaced 50,000.
“Wherever we will find people belonging to the Muslim community, by killing them, we will get our revenge,” he told the crowd of people armed with sticks and swords.
A week later, mobs of armed Hindu men descended on local villages, leaving around 60 people, mostly Muslims, dead and prompting tens of thousands of Muslims to flee their homes.
The state police charged him with the Indian Penal Code sections 188 (violating prohibitory orders), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty), and 341 (wrongful restraint). In November 2015, a bailable warrant was issued against Balyan. In December 2015, he surrendered before a Muzzafarnagar court and obtained bail.
In March 2021, charges against Balyan and other BJP leaders were dropped after the Yogi government submitted a plea to withdraw cases in a local court.