New Delhi: The All India Lawyers Council (AILC) has released a fact-finding report after a two-member team visited Malegaon to access ground reality after the protest which took place on November 12, 2021.
The two-member team comprises Secretary General Sharfuddin Ahmad, Advocate, Supreme Court and Advocate Santosh Jadhav, National Secretary.
The call for the protest on November 12 was given by the Raza Academy and other organizations.
The protest was called in a form to put the shutters down against communal violence of Tripura as well as the hateful and violence-provoking speeches and actions committed targeting Muslims, Christians and other vulnerable people by allegedly the known and indoctrinated goons forming the groups across the country with impunity.
After the visit to Malegaon, the AILC has prepared a fact-finding report.
The facts that emerged after wider interaction with local residents is as follows:
- After the call of the protest by the Raza Academy, it was unanimously decided by the representatives of various organization only to observe the protest in a form “Bandh” against lawlessness by making an appeal to shutter down the total work in the city for a day on November 12 which happened Friday. As on Friday, the markets in Malegaon generally remain closed.
- Only hundreds of people assembled at the crossing “Shaheedon ki Yadgar” and a memorandum was handed over to the official purported to be sent to the government in the morning as per prescheduled program.
- In view of the rising tempers and the atmosphere getting volatile, the Raza Academy had to withdraw its call and it appealed to the public to stay away from the meeting and the march. The leadership of the Raza Adacemy and the leaders of other organizations as Jamait-e-Ulmae Hind, NCP, Congress, Janta Dal (S) etc thereafter, disappeared from the scene resulting to a vacuum into leadership of protesting crowd.
- After Friday prayers, mob had gathered and started a march to Shivaji Circle, a point or the end of the Muslim population. The police officers are said to have made phone calls to a number of local leaders to intervene and to stop the march being held leaderless but according to police version, the most of the phones of the local leader who had supported the Bandh, were found switched off.
- It is revealed that the protest had peacefully ended and the most of people had started dispersing to leave to their homes.
- Surprisingly, just at the end of the program, it happened instantly that 20-25 people concealing their faces with clothes emerged from the opposite direction and shouting slogans started indiscriminate and violent attacks on properties.
- The most of properties damaged in the violence on November 12, 2021 are owned and possessed by Muslims. No property of any non-Muslim has been damaged during this spree of violence.
- The attackers according to local people were unknown outsiders in hidden faces and none of them were arrested by the police.
- It is also informed by the local people that about two days before the declared protest, trollies full of sharp-edges stones were unloaded near the spot of the incident and these stones were hurled and pelted on the police during the disturbance to make the police to use force.
- Six FIRs were registered by the local police in two police stations and more than sixty persons are named and other one thousand to one thousand and five hundred (1000 to 1500) people have been made un-named accused persons in about half a dozen criminal cases registered by the police.
- The police made allegations to have been injured during stone pelting and the use of fire arms is also alleged. The injuries allegedly caused to policemen are said to be at the non-vital parts of bodies and hardly grievous in nature.
- The police version is that complete footage of CCTV had been procured but no such footage is made available in public domain.
- It is found from the perusal of FIRs that some persons are mentioned in several cases with an apparent purpose to increase the number of cases as well as to manifold the difficulties of accused persons so that they may be devoid from civil liberty for a long time.
- The majority of the accused persons have very clean credentials and have never been ever prosecuted in any criminal cases.
- The identification of actual offenders in view of the availability of the CCTV footage may lead the police to file the charge sheet as a large number of persons had already been arrested.
- About two months time has passed but the police has squarely failed to file charge sheet in any case against any accused person incarcerated in the jail.
- A reign of terror has percolated rooting to every Muslim family of Malegaon. The reports are doing the rounds that an exorbitant income has grown up in view of the apprehension to every Muslim resident for the arrest keeping in view a large number of unnamed accused persons are mentioned into FIRs lodged by the police.
- Malegaon had unfortunately suffered with incidents of two bomb blasts in the year 2006 and 2008. A large number of innocent people were then rounded up and had gone through pangs of pain for a long time. Now extra safeguards are required so that innocent persons may not further suffer.
- Muslims of Malegaon had unjustly been treated in past so keeping this in view, a liberal treatment be given as these persons have been in jail custody for two months and non filing of the charge sheets the police is prolonging the incarceration worsening the social atmosphere of Malegaon.
AILC fervently demands to the Maharashtra government to forthwith consider;
- That the expunging of names from the cases may be directed regarding all the accused persons in FIRs arrested by the police but not spotted in CCTV footage being prima facie, the innocent persons.
- That the government may direct to the police either to release the accused persons on personal bond or not to oppose the bail applications of those who are not visible in footage of the CCTV procured by the police.
- That the police may be directed to release the footage of CCTV to public so that the actual culprits may be identified and innocent people may not be harassed further.
- A judicial enquiry may be ordered by the government to instill confidence, to deliver a speedy justice and to boost up the morale of the people in view of large interests of entire population of Malegaon.