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SC Cancels Bail of Accused in Mohsin Shaikh Lynching Case

Sabrangindia Staff 16 Feb 2018
The Supreme Court has chastised the Bombay high court for its observations in the June 2014 murder case of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh. This was the first case of public killing after the Modi government was sworn in. The court’s observations indicated that the three accused had been provoked to commit the act of violence “in the name of religion”. It was the high court’s remark in the order that “the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion” was made while granting bail to the accused. Last week, Thursday, February 8, the apex court quashed the Bombay high court’s order pertaining to the three accused in the case – Vijay Gambhire, Ganesh Yadav and Ajay Lalge – who, according to a Hindustan Times report, are part of the right-wing group Hindu Rashtra Sena.

Mohsin Shaikh

In June 2017, three years after the killing, and in a blow to an already faltering investigation  special public prosecutor and advocate Ujjwal Nikam withdrew his position as public prosecutor in the murder case of Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, a Pune-based techie who was killed in 2014 by members of radical outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS). Mohsin was attacked and killed while he was returning to his home after prayers on June 2, 2014.

The three – among 21 from the Hindu Rashtra Sena who were booked in connection with the murder – reportedly attended an “inflammatory” meeting just before they accosted and killed Shaikh. The meeting was held in the background of communal clashes in Pune. The group’s leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai was allegedly addressing the meeting that instigated the audience to violence.Hearing an appeal by the deceased’s brother against the grant of bail, the apex court directed that the three to be taken into custody, and the Bombay high court to give fresh consideration to the bail plea and to take a decision within six weeks.

The apex court stated while arriving at its decision that the religious identity cannot be an excuse to assault or murder anyone. A bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao further cautioned courts against passing observations “which may appear to be coloured with a bias for or against a community”.The top court maintained that courts must be “fully conscious of the plural composition of the country” and hence abide by their duty to objectively decide rights of different groups, News18 reported.

The apex court stated: “While it may be possible to understand a reference to the community of the parties involved in an assault, it is difficult to understand why it was said that ‘the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion’…”

The Supreme Court observed that while the Bombay high court’s order may have intended to simply lay emphasis on the fact that communal hatred and not personal bias was behind the attack and may not have intended to hurt the feelings of any particular community or support the feelings of another community, “the words are clearly vulnerable to such criticism” and that “the direction cannot be sustained”.

Mohsin Shaikh was on his way to meet a friend when he was attacked by a mob of 23 on June 2, 2014, in Pune’s Hadapsar. The prosecution reasoned that the accused “targeted them because they belonged to a certain community”, and claimed that “the accused were said to have been highly motivated to do the act because they had attended a meeting of a body called Hindu Rashtra Sena about half an hour before the incident”.A fresh bail hearing in the Bombay high court is scheduled for today, February 16.

report in Indian Express said that Justice Bhatkar on January 12, while granting bail to Vijay Rajendra Gambhire, Ganesh alias Ranjeet Shankar Yadav and Ajay Dilip Lalge, noted that the accused had attended a meeting “prior to the incident of assault. The applicants/accused otherwise had no other motive such as any personal enmity against the innocent deceased Mohsin.”

The bail order stated, “…Dhananjay Desai was the one who was the speaker in the meeting and he instigated the audience… the transcript of the speech given by Dhananjay Desai was sufficient to show that he had incited feelings of religious discrimination. The meet was held… prior to the incident of assault.”

In its chargesheet, however, the cops quoted at least two witnesses, who heard HRS members plan the attack.

The chargesheet said, “The activists were carrying hockey sticks, wooden batons etc. During the meeting, they started discussing that HRS president Dhananjay Bhai has said that Muslims should be thrashed for posting derogatory pictures of Shivaji Maharaj on Facebook. Their vehicles, shops should be damaged. They should not be allowed to do any business in the area. There should be terror of HRS in Hadapsar.”
 

SC Cancels Bail of Accused in Mohsin Shaikh Lynching Case

The Supreme Court has chastised the Bombay high court for its observations in the June 2014 murder case of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh. This was the first case of public killing after the Modi government was sworn in. The court’s observations indicated that the three accused had been provoked to commit the act of violence “in the name of religion”. It was the high court’s remark in the order that “the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion” was made while granting bail to the accused. Last week, Thursday, February 8, the apex court quashed the Bombay high court’s order pertaining to the three accused in the case – Vijay Gambhire, Ganesh Yadav and Ajay Lalge – who, according to a Hindustan Times report, are part of the right-wing group Hindu Rashtra Sena.

Mohsin Shaikh

In June 2017, three years after the killing, and in a blow to an already faltering investigation  special public prosecutor and advocate Ujjwal Nikam withdrew his position as public prosecutor in the murder case of Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, a Pune-based techie who was killed in 2014 by members of radical outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS). Mohsin was attacked and killed while he was returning to his home after prayers on June 2, 2014.

The three – among 21 from the Hindu Rashtra Sena who were booked in connection with the murder – reportedly attended an “inflammatory” meeting just before they accosted and killed Shaikh. The meeting was held in the background of communal clashes in Pune. The group’s leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai was allegedly addressing the meeting that instigated the audience to violence.Hearing an appeal by the deceased’s brother against the grant of bail, the apex court directed that the three to be taken into custody, and the Bombay high court to give fresh consideration to the bail plea and to take a decision within six weeks.

The apex court stated while arriving at its decision that the religious identity cannot be an excuse to assault or murder anyone. A bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao further cautioned courts against passing observations “which may appear to be coloured with a bias for or against a community”.The top court maintained that courts must be “fully conscious of the plural composition of the country” and hence abide by their duty to objectively decide rights of different groups, News18 reported.

The apex court stated: “While it may be possible to understand a reference to the community of the parties involved in an assault, it is difficult to understand why it was said that ‘the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion’…”

The Supreme Court observed that while the Bombay high court’s order may have intended to simply lay emphasis on the fact that communal hatred and not personal bias was behind the attack and may not have intended to hurt the feelings of any particular community or support the feelings of another community, “the words are clearly vulnerable to such criticism” and that “the direction cannot be sustained”.

Mohsin Shaikh was on his way to meet a friend when he was attacked by a mob of 23 on June 2, 2014, in Pune’s Hadapsar. The prosecution reasoned that the accused “targeted them because they belonged to a certain community”, and claimed that “the accused were said to have been highly motivated to do the act because they had attended a meeting of a body called Hindu Rashtra Sena about half an hour before the incident”.A fresh bail hearing in the Bombay high court is scheduled for today, February 16.

report in Indian Express said that Justice Bhatkar on January 12, while granting bail to Vijay Rajendra Gambhire, Ganesh alias Ranjeet Shankar Yadav and Ajay Dilip Lalge, noted that the accused had attended a meeting “prior to the incident of assault. The applicants/accused otherwise had no other motive such as any personal enmity against the innocent deceased Mohsin.”

The bail order stated, “…Dhananjay Desai was the one who was the speaker in the meeting and he instigated the audience… the transcript of the speech given by Dhananjay Desai was sufficient to show that he had incited feelings of religious discrimination. The meet was held… prior to the incident of assault.”

In its chargesheet, however, the cops quoted at least two witnesses, who heard HRS members plan the attack.

The chargesheet said, “The activists were carrying hockey sticks, wooden batons etc. During the meeting, they started discussing that HRS president Dhananjay Bhai has said that Muslims should be thrashed for posting derogatory pictures of Shivaji Maharaj on Facebook. Their vehicles, shops should be damaged. They should not be allowed to do any business in the area. There should be terror of HRS in Hadapsar.”
 

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