May 23, 2009 12:11:26 am
The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to suspended police officer Manohar Kadam who,weeks earlier,was awarded a life sentence by a sessions court for ordering his unit to fire on a mob at Ramabai Nagar in July 1997,causing the death of 10 Dalit protesters.
A vacation bench of Justice A V Nirgude and Justice Rajesh Ketkar had on Thursday observed it will have to examine if the mob posed a threat to Kadam,his unit or the public during the tension that followed the desecration of an Ambedkar statue.
Kadams counsel Raja Thakare said the bail was granted on a bond of Rs 50,000 .
Can you say that there was no danger to him or other police officers or the public? Justice Nirgude had asked the state on Thursday. The implication of this is far-reaching and it has to be considered.
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Additional public prosecutor Usha Kejriwal,meanwhile,reiterated the state governments stand that Kadam did not follow the rules and he did not stop the firing even after seeing injured people. He again ordered firing when he should have stopped, Kejriwal had submitted.
Kejriwal had also stated that Kadam did not have tear gas or a megaphone to disperse the crowd. To this,Kadams counsel said,It is a systemic lapse to which Kadam has fallen victim.
Thakare also argued that Kadam has not taken crime as a livelihood and some evidence in his favour were discarded during the trial. He has two daughters,a son and a 90-year-old father to look after,Thakare told the court.
The issue of sanction for prosecution was also argued and the court said it will look into it during the stage of appeal.
The victims lawyer,Sangharaj Rupawate,stated that sanction under Section 197 of CrPC and section 20 of SRPF Act was sufficient for Kadams prosecution.
Thakare submitted that if there is apprehension of threat to life or damage to property,the police can use force even if it risks causing death.
Upset with order,Dalits plan protest
Dalits of Ramabai Nagar plan to protest against the bail granted to Manohar Kadam. According to Sumedh Jadhav and Jaywant Hire,conveners of the Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar Hatyakand Virodhi Kruti Samiti,the bail has shattered the faith of Dalits in the judicial system.
The samiti said in a statement on Friday that it will take up the case in the Supreme Court. It is also planning a morcha in protest against the bail order and the date of the agitation will be announced on Saturday.
Meanwhile,city president of Republican Party of India (Athawale) Gautam Sonawane said his party will ask the state government to approach the Supreme Court to get Kadams bail cancelled. He said the release of Kadam on bail had caused unrest among Dalits.
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