A court in Pune on Friday acquitted 20 people, including the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) leader Dhananjay Desai and 19 others in the 2014 murder case of a youth named Mohsin Shaikh.
Who was Mohsin Shaikh?
Mohsin was a native of Solapur and worked as an engineer at a private firm in Pune. in 2014, after the circulation of objectionable pictures of Shivaji Maharaj and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on social media, communal clashes had spread in parts of Mahrashtra including Pune.
In Pune riots, on the night of June 2, 2014, youths associated to Desai's Hindu Rashtra Sena had allegedly attacked Mohsin while he was going home with his friend Riyaz Ahmed Mubarak Shendure after offering prayers at a mosque in Hadapsar. The mob cornered Mohsin and thrashed him with hockey sticks. He was then taken to the hospital by a friend where he was declared dead the same night.
No bystanders including Police intervened or helped the bloodied Mohsin
After the mob attacked him, for an hour, no bystanders including Police intervened or helped the bloodied Mohsin. In 2019, Bombay High Court had came down heavily on the Pune police for being ‘onlookers’ in the Mohsin Shaikh murder case and not making any effort to arrest the assailants, who had escaped from the crime scene.
During the course of a hearing, Justice Bhatkar perused the statements of a police inspector, who categorically stated that at the time of the incident, he along with two other officers was present near the spot and witnessed the assailants running away from the crime scene.
Irked by this, Justice Bhatkar said, “What kind of approach is this? You are police officers. You have authority to make arrest. You cannot become onlookers and witness the crime. The least expected from you was to chase and make effort to arrest the assailants.”
“It is really difficult for me to appreciate you or your approach. You are authorised to make arrests but here you kept on looking at the assailants fleeing away from the crime scene after killing someone. You cannot function in this manner,” Justice Bhatkar remarked.
Court acquitted 20 accused arrested in the case
In 2018, father of Mohsin, Sadique Shaikh, who was fighting the battle for his dead son, died. His family had then vowed to take forward the fight for justice.
However, today Pune Court acquitted 20 persons, including Desai, for want of evidence, the HRS leader's lawyer Milind Pawar said. Desai was held some days after the murder and was released on bail in January, 2019.
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