On January 19, a bench of the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra public prosecutor to file a response within two weeks to a writ petition demanding action against senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vikram Pawaskar for his alleged role in an attack on a mosque in Satara in September.
Even after reporting hate speeches, filing complaints and lodging First Information Reports (FIRs) against speakers, ensuring that action is taking in pursuance to the said FIRs is as big a task as one can imagine, evidenced by the number of hate offenders and hate speakers roaming freely even after having multiple FIRs against their names for making provocative speeches. Repeated hate speaker and Maharashtra state BJP Vice-President Vikram Pawaskar is one such influential leader of the ruling BJP party who has been benefitting from the sleepy process of “justice” being employed by the police. The situation is such that the petitioners have had to approach the Bombay High Court by filing a criminal writ petition to urge the courts to direct the state of Maharashtra to take immediate action against Pawaskar in view of the FIRs lodged in 2023 and investigate, arrest and prosecute all the accused.
It is highlighted here that the final chargesheet filed in the case on December 18, 2023, does not include Pawaskar’s name. Regarding the same, in its order, the Bombay High court bench had directed the Satara police and the Sangli police to submit responses on the FIRs related to speeches made by Pawaskar in Sangli and on the chargesheet where his name remains missing.
With this, the petitioner has also demanded the transfer the investigation of the case to a court monitored Special Investigation Team if the court feels pertinent. The petitioners have specifically prayed that Vikram Pawaskar, who enabled the hate speech event by conspiring to commit communal violence and made at least two hate speeches, be arraigned.
It is essential to note that the High Court bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Manjusha Deshpande have also directed the police to ensure protection for the petitioner and witnesses in the case.
Details of the anti-Muslim riot:
In the month of September of 2023, anti-Muslim violence had taken place in the erstwhile quiet and harmonious Satara district of Maharashtra. On September 10, two posts/comments allegedly surfaced from the social media accounts of Altamash and Muzzamil Bagwan. While Muzzamil’s alleged post contained derogatory references to Shivaji, Altamash’s alleged comments contained derogatory comments about Sita. As both the aforementioned individual were by the police for investigation, on September 10 itself, a mob of approximately 200 to 250 people, some from neighbouring villages like Wadgaon gathered in Datta chowk at around 9.30pm. The mob was allegedly “enraged” by the alleged posts of Altamash and Muzammil.
This story was originally published in newsclick.in. Read the full story here .