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After 107 days in jail, Indore bangle seller who was assaulted by mob gets bail

🔴 Tasleem Ali had been arrested on August 23 on the charge of “outraging the modesty of women”. The cross FIR came after his own complaint of being brutally assaulted and looted.

Tasleem Ali, who was beaten up for allegedly concealing his identity while selling bangles in an Indore locality.

Tasleem Ali, the bangle seller who was assaulted by a mob in Indore for “concealing” his religious identity, was Tuesday granted bail by the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Indore bench — after he spent 107 days in jail.

Ali had been arrested on August 23 on the charge of “outraging modesty”. The cross FIR came after his own complaint of being brutally assaulted and looted.

The bench of Justice Sujoy Paul said: “The nature of accusation is not such which leads to a conclusion that (the) applicant should remain in custody till (the) decision of the matter. No criminal antecedents of the applicant could be shown to this court. There is no material to show that the applicant was instrumental in threatening the person or complainants. Considering the nature of the accusation and in absence of any criminal record, I deem it proper to enlarge the applicant on bail.”

Ali’s brother Jamal told The Indian Express: “We have been hearing of dates getting rejected or pushed forward and today we have heard that he was given bail. But what does it mean? We will only believe when we have him back at our home. We have already suffered a lot.”

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His wife Neeta, however, was more upbeat. “We haven’t stopped smiling since the time we have heard of his bail. I told my children and since then all that they are asking me is when will baba be home. At least someone has heard his plea, we are now just waiting for him to come back,” she said. Ali is the sole breadwinner for the family, including his five children.

Ali’s counsel, Ehtesham Hashmi, had argued before the court that his client was abused, threatened and assaulted by hooligans while selling bangles. The counsel said Ali had lodged an FIR at a police station at 1:45 pm on August 23. Hashmi said the cross FIR had been lodged the same day at 6 pm on cooked up charges.

The government counsel argued that granting bail to Ali would result in him fleeing from justice. Justice Paul, however, observed: “This FIR shows the prosecution has already reached the permanent residence of the applicant. Thus, the question of the applicant fleeing from justice does not arise.”

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Hashmi told The Indian Express that the judgment was a “victory of the Indian constitution”. “The judiciary upheld the constitution despite several attempts by senior ministers and police officers to impede the judicial process.”

Hailing from Biraj Mou village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district, Ali had come to sell bangles in Indore around Raksha Bandhan in August, hoping to make extra money during the festival season. While he was selling bangles in a city locality, four men allegedly beat him up and robbed him of the goods he was carrying, his cash and his cell phone.

In a purported video of the incident, they allegedly invite passers-by to hit him, saying this was to avenge “Bombay Bazar”.

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This was a reference to an incident in the minority-dominated Bombay Bazaar where two Dalit girls were beaten up by a group of young men who alleged that they were friends with a “Hindu man”.

The next day, on August 23, the minor daughter of one of the alleged attackers had accused Ali of sexual harassment. He was arrested on the charges of forgery, cheating, criminal intimidation, and sections of POCSO, among other offences.

The four who were arrested for assaulting him were charged with dacoity, hurting religious sentiments, promoting enmity on the grounds of religion, and rioting.

Ali’s bail plea was rejected for the first time on August 31 by the Indore Sessions Court. Citing the sections invoked against him, the court said, “As the charges levied against the applicant are of a serious nature and still being investigated, and he is not a resident of Indore, if given the benefit of bail, he might abscond….”

Ali approached the Indore Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on September 13, which pushed the hearing to October 4 first, then October 8, and on that day to October 25, when the courts returned following the Navratri break.

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The main accused, Pawar, was the first to get bail, on September 13, from the High Court, which said: “Considering the fact that he has been in jail since August 24 and the trial is likely to take a considerable time… I deem it to be a fit cause for grant of bail.” The other three were granted bail by the Indore Sessions Court on September 27 citing the High Court order.

First published on: 07-12-2021 at 13:38 IST
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