The family of Mohsin Shaikh, a 28-year-old in Pune who was murdered in June 2014, allegedly by members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), is stunned by the order of the Bombay High Court which granted bail to three of 21 arrested in the case. In her January 12 order, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that “the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion. I consider this factor in favour of the applicants/accused. More-over, the applicants/accused do not have any criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder”.
WATCH VIDEO | Bombay High Court Grants Bail To 3 Accused In Muslim Youth Murder Case
Mohsin’s family plans to move the Supreme Court against the grant of bail to the accused — of the 21 accused, 14 have been granted bail so far. The Maharashtra government too may challenge the grant of bail to the three men. An opinion in this regard, sources said, is likely to be sent by the public prosecutor’s office to the state government.
Mohsin, who worked in a Pune firm, was attacked on his way home after offering prayers at a masjid on the night of June 2, 2014. His friend Riyaz Ahmed Mubarak Shendure was with him when they were targeted, allegedly by HRS members protesting a Facebook post of some derogatory pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bal Thackeray.
Later, a case of murder was registered at the Hadapsar police station and 21 HRS members, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, were arrested. Four days ago, Justice Bhatkar, 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”.
“…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,” the January 12 order stated.
Sadiq Shaikh, father of Mohsin, is stunned by this observation of the High Court. “We are not convinced by the ground on which the HC has granted bail to the accused. Is provocative speech permissible for murder of an innocent person from another religion? All three accused were arrested from the murder spot. We have decided to challenge this bail order in Supreme Court,” he said.
In its chargesheet, police said they had two witnesses who had seen and heard the discussion of the alleged HRS activists who had gathered at Gondhale Mala in Hadapsar around 8.30 pm on June 2, 2014. “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,” the chargesheet stated.
On March 5, 2015, the High Court had rejected the bail plea of prime accused Desai. His lawyer Sanjay Punalekar said they had filed a fresh application, seeking bail and also an application for Desai’s discharge in the case. “Hearing on these applications will take place in the HC on February 1,” Punalekar said.