In a jaw-dropping verdict, the Bombay High Court granted bail to three men arrested for allegedly attacking a Muslim man after attending a meeting of Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) in Pune’s Hadapsar area. The court held that the accused did not kill the man over any personal enmity, but they had been provoked “in the name of religion”.
“The fact that the deceased belonged to another religion is in favour of the accused, who were provoked in the name of the religion and seemed to have committed the murder,” said the court.
The incident took place On June 2, 2014 when the right wing group HRS had conducted a meeting in Hadapsar to discuss an alleged defiling of Shivaji Maharaj statue. The group’s leader, Dhananjay Desai, had given a speech that allegedly instigated the audience. After the speech, the three accused, along with Desai, went around the area on two wheelers, armed with weapons.
At this time, the deceased, Shaik Mohsin, had gone to the same area along with his brother Riyaz and friend Wasim to get dinner. While they were on their way back, the accused noticed Mohsin who was wearing a green colour shirt and was sporting a beard. They allegedly attacked Mohsin and his friends.
While Riyaz managed to escape the scene, Mohsin and Wasim were assaulted by hockey sticks, bats and stones. Mohsin, who was riding the bike, was severely injured. Later Riyaz came back to find his brother lying on the road. With the help of police, Riyaz took Mohsin to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
After the death of Mohsin, Riyaz had filed a case against the accused. Eyewitnesses identified the three accused as Vijay Gambhire, Ranjeet Yadav, and Ajay Lalge. They were arrested and charged with murder and causing a riot. After their bail plea had been rejected in Pune’s session court, they approached the Bombay High Court. The counsel for the accused submitted a plea that they were innocent and were not present at the time of the incident.
“The meeting was held prior to the incident of assault. The accused, otherwise, had no other motive, such as any personal enmity, against the innocent deceased. The only fault of the deceased was that he belonged to another religion. I consider this factor in favour of the accused. Moreover, the accused do not have any criminal record, and it appears that they were provoked in the name of the religion and have committed murder,” said Justice Mridula Bhatkar.
The prosecution, however, maintained that the accused were influenced easily and are gullible for carrying out the murder.
Points to ponder
- The reports clearly say that the accused were instigated by Desai's speech. They also allegedly went around the area armed with hockey sticks. This clearly shows a premeditated intent to harm. Is it excusable that people start randomly killing with no 'personal enmity' but claiming religious provocation?
- And in this case, the accused were not even provoked by the deceased. They were enraged by a speech at a meeting. Is it right that a family lose their son for no fault of his?