Bombay High Court’s recent decision to grant bail to murder accused and the rationale used by judge has left the family of 28-year-old Mohsin Shaikh utterly stunned. While granting bail on 12, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that the victim’s fault was 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,” Justice Bhatkar observed.
Shaikh was brutally murdered by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena in June 2014 while he was on his way back from a mosque after offering prayers. 14 of 21 accused have already been granted bail by the court.
A case of murder was registered against the members of HRS at the Hadapsar police station and 21 HRS members, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, were arrested.
A report in Indian Express said that Justice Bhatkar on 12 January, 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.”
Her bail order stated, “…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.”
In its chargesheet, however, the cops quoted at least two witnesses, who heard HRS members plan the attack.
The chargesheet said, “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.”
While the bail plea of Desai will come up for hearing in Bombay High Court on 1 February, the murder victim’s family plans to challenge the bail order in the Supreme Court.