The Pune rural police Monday lodged an offence against the community panchayat of Shias for allegedly socially boycotting a 35-year-old man, Hamidul Hasan Mohammed Sayyad, a Shia from Sayyadwada in Junnar taluka of Pune district.
A complaint was filed by Hamidul in the case a few months ago. On Monday, a first information report (FIR) was lodged at the Junnar police station under sections 3 (1) (2) (4) of the Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act and section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against members of the community panchayat and a few others.
“This is the first case against a Muslim community panchayat in the state and also the first case with the Pune rural police under this act passed by the Maharashtra state legislature in April 2016 which came into force from July 13, 2017,” said Nandini Jadhav, district president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), which was founded by slain rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Hamidul said, “I have been approaching the police for the last few months, but despite getting solid evidence of my social boycott, the police were not lodging any offence in the case. Even today, the police were initially reluctant, but after heated discussions with Nandini Jadhav of MANS, they finally lodged the FIR.”
Hamidul has alleged that a trust of Shias in Junnar acts like community panchayat and takes all important decisions related to the community. He alleged the community panchayat members socially boycotted him on May 10, 2016 after falsely blaming him for not submitting the account details of Shia Madrasa Trust, where he worked as a helper”
“Earlier, a group of persons put up a letter on Shia Jama Masjid on April 27, 2016, demanding my social boycott. Then, the community panchayat held a meeting on May 9 and the next day, it passed a resolution to socially boycott me. Later, strong objections were taken from time to time when I participated in community programmes, like marriages, and Muharram. If the trust feels I have committed financial malpractices, it can take legal action against me. But no corruption case was ever filed against me,” he said.
Hamidul said he lives in Junnar with his parents, wife and children. He runs a grocery shop and takes part in social activities. “I raised my voice against child marriage in my community in September 2012. A complaint in this case was also registered at Junnnar police station. Some persons in the community who do not like my work have conspired against me,” he said.
Hamidul has named 33 community panchayat members in his complaint who allegedly signed the resolution passed by the trust to socially boycott him. It mentions that Hamidul will not be allowed to work in any organisation run by the trust and that the community members will not approach him in good and bad times.
Nandini Jadhav said, “We have statements of 10 persons on stamp paper who say that Hamidul was socially boycotted. We also have strong video evidence. Hamidul has also got support from one of the 33 members of community panchayat who signed the resolution to socially boycott him. This member had filed a complaint with the Pune rural police on October 7, 2017, alleging that he was forced to sign the social boycott resolution and demanded action against those members who are harassing him for supporting Hamidul.” Police sub-inspector Sheetal Chavan of Junnar police station is investigating the case.