'Provoked' Over Religion, Says Bombay High Court Judge, Giving Bail to Muslim Man's Killers

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Three of the 21 Hindu Rashtra Sena activists arrested were granted bail last week by Bombay High Court


Mumbai: 

Highlights

  1. Mohsin Shaikh was beaten to death in June, 2014
  2. 21 Hindu Rashtra Sena activists arrested, 3 granted bail
  3. Judge on accused: 'In name of religion, they were provoked'
Three men jailed in 2014 for beating a Muslim man to death with hockey sticks have been let off on bail by the Bombay High Court, which says they were "provoked in the name of religion and they committed murder."

On June 2, 28-year-old Mohsin Shaikh was on his way to dinner with a friend when they were dragged off their motorbike by a group of men armed with hockey sticks, bats and stones. Mohsin was brutally beaten and was left bleeding and unconscious on the road; his friend escaped.

Mohsin was allegedly targeted over a Facebook post on Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. The attackers were members of the fringe group Hindu Rashtra Sena. Three of the 21 arrested - Vijay Rajendra Gambhire, Ranjeet Shankar Yadav and Ajay Dilip Lalge - were granted bail last Thursday.

High Court judge Mridula Bhatkar said in her order: "The fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion. I consider this factor in favour of the accused. Moreover, the 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".

The judge also noted that the accused "had no motive such as any personal enmity" against Mohsin, that the three men had attended a meeting before the assault and were instigated.   

Mohsin's family is likely to move the Supreme Court challenging the order.

Mohsin's father Sadiq Shaikh has been quoted by the Indian Express as saying: "Is provocative speech permissible for murder of an innocent person from another religion? All three accused were arrested from the murder spot."

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