THE KARNATAKA High Court has granted bail to 16 youths accused by police of attacking the Mangalore North police station in the violence related to anti-CAA protests on December 19 on the grounds that the same people have been named in other similar cases in different locations at the same time.
Mohammed Suhal and 15 others, who are accused of attacking the police station, were also allegedly part of a group of 21 persons granted bail by the High Court on February 17 after finding no prima facie evidence to link them to the mob violence last December. Following an appeal by the Karnataka government, the Supreme Court had on March 6 stayed the grant of bail to the 21.
High Court Justice John Michael Cunha had granted bail to the 21 — Mohammed Ashik and others — citing the partisan behaviour of police and failure to register cases lodged against police by two victims of alleged police firing.
In a second bunch of bail pleas relating to the Mangalore incidents of December 2019, which is among 31 cases registered by police over violence linked to the anti CAA-protests, the High Court ordered the release of 16 youths on the grounds that the cases filed against the accused were overlapping. The court observed in a February 27 order, granting bail to the 16, that of the 31 police cases registered over the violence, four cases were “registered against the very same petitioners alleging that they were members of unlawful assembly at different places between 4.00 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. on the same day”.
“As the petitioners could not be present at four different locations at the same time, there appears to be a deliberate attempt to falsely implicate the petitioners in multiple cases. Hence, it is necessary to admit the petitioners to bail,’’ Justice Cunha has observed in the February 27 order.
In the FIR No 133/2019, on which bail was granted on February 17 by the High Court, 21 youths were accused by Mangalore Police of unlawful assembly with lethal weapons, attempting to set fire to a police station, obstructing police from discharging duties and damaging public property while violating prohibitory orders imposed from 9 pm on December 18 to midnight December 20.
In FIR No 131/2019, on which bail was granted to 16 of the 21 youths, they were accused of being part of a group of 300 to 400 Muslim youth “armed with jelly stones, clubs, soda bottles and glass pieces’’ involved in setting fire police vehicles and pelting stones and soda bottles on the police station. The February 27 order has not been challenged by the government, as yet.
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