In its order granting bail to one of the accused in Junaid Khan’s murder, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that the initial dispute between the victims and the accused was “only regarding the seat sharing and abuses in the name of castes and nothing more”.
Justice A B Chaudhari made the observation in the order passed on March 28, granting bail to Rameshwar Dass. The order, which has been made public now, also reads, “There is neither any evidence of any preplanning to cause incident deliberately or intentionally or to create disharmony.”
A trial court had last year dismissed Dass’s bail plea saying that he boarded the train and “was involved in the quarrel with the victims from the very beginning”. But Justice Chaudhari said, “I do not think, the distinction drawn by trial court is apt. On the contrary, it is seen that the assault was never made in the beginning, but the same was made when the other boys entered the train.”
The trial court, while framing charges on October 11, 2017, had said that “so far as accused Rameshwar is concerned, he was accompanying main accused Naresh from the very beginning and had abused the victims in the name of their religion and they also did not allow the victim to alight from the train, and when the quarrel ensued, accused Naresh caused injuries with sharp-edged weapon.”
Justice Chaudhari noted, “Except attributing him the abuses in the name of castes or giving slaps in the first round, it cannot be said that there was any allegation about the petitioner asking Naresh or any other boy to assault the other group, including the deceased. There is not even remote whisper that the petitioner had instigated or asked anybody to make assault.”
Dass, a Health Inspector in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and five others were booked in the case after the attack on Junaid (15), his brother and two cousins on a Mathura-bound train. While the teenager was stabbed to death, it is also alleged that communal slurs were hurled at them. Naresh, the only accused still behind bars, applied for bail last week.
According to the FIR, Junaid and his friends boarded the train at Okhla, and during an argument over seats, Dass and Naresh “abused the victims in the name of their religion”. Junaid and others made a phone call to their family members, following which Junaid’s brother and others boarded the coach at Ballabhgarh station and a fresh quarrel broke out, says the FIR.