High time for High Court to step in as Pune Police has given go by to investigation in the Mevani-Khalid hate speech case


Ravindra Kadam, Pune Joint Commissioner, and Pravin Mundhe, Pune DCP during a press conference held on June 7, 2018 after the arrest of five suspects with Maoist links. (Image credit: Shankar Narayan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Advocate Prakash Salsingikar has issued a notice to Pune Police for failure to interrogate Mevani & Khalid even after five months of registering the FIR. The Commissioner’s office has chosen to be silent on the Legal Notice issued in the case.

An FIR was registered under IPC sections-117, 153 – A and 505 against Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mewani for their provocative speeches made during the Elgar Parishad event in Pune.  The official from the state home department collected the raw footage of the said hate speeches from the complainant Akshay Bikkad. Statements of the witnesses who heard all the speeches were also recorded during the initial stages of the investigation. However, the investigation is halted since then. As of now, the investigating officer has not summoned the accused to know their version even after 90 days from registering the FIR.

“It is unexplainable as to why there is no investigation in the crime, particularly when the utterances and its consequences constitute offense not among private persons but against the public. What further aggravates the offense is the fact that an elected representative, Jignesh Mewani, used his popularity and influence on the public to cause violence between different stratum of society. These peculiarities are all the more reasons for investigation in the crime. It compellingly emerges that Pune Police has thrown their weight to save the accused rather than to bring them to book,” said advocate Prakash Salsingikar. The advocate has issued a notice, on behalf of Mumbai-based activist Vikram Vinay Bhave, to Pune Police for their failure to complete the investigation and file a charge sheet in the case within 90 days from filing the FIR.

From the videos available in the public domain, it’s clear that Mevani and Khalid’s speeches provoked violence, and thus, culprits need to be brought to book.  If cops fail to complete the investigation and submit a charge sheet in the case, there is no other option but to file a writ petition against the police.

“The evidence unmistakably points out that Mevani and Khalid have committed a grave crime against the society. They endorsed one section of the society to wage war against the other. They are waging war against a class. Looking at whatever unfolded after their statements in Pune, I think down the line, these people can cause a civil war in the country, if allowed to do so. The evidence submitted with the Police is glaringly incriminating, and in fact, if Pune Police had desired to investigate the case, by now, it would have filed charge sheet against Mevani and Khalid. Accordingly, it emerges that by not acting in this matter, Pune Police is supporting the culprits,” said advocate Dharma Raj.

Prime Minister in waiting was not monitoring Pune hate speech probe?

“Narendra in Delhi and Devendra in Maharashtra” is the line that is often recited by local BJP leaders in Maharashtra. The state’s chief minister holds several vital ministries, including home ministry, and is referred to as prime minister in waiting by his followers. Unfortunately, the CM-cum-home minister has failed in cracking the whip on his IPS officers in Pune, who themselves have been accused of extortion in the past.

Lethargy while handling cases involving non-right wing politicians

Pune police’s lethargy towards cases that involve Congress-NCP politicians can be seen in several matters. The road rage, physical assault case involving former NCP corporator Pramod Nimhan’s son Praneet Nimhan can prove to be the best recent example. Chatuhshrungi police station in charge Hemant Dhome tried every trick in the book to save Praneet by declaring him and his three friends as juveniles driving a car without a license. But, cops had to bend down and file a case when the victim Varun Desai’s parents threatened legal action.

Are Khalid and Mevani getting special treatment?

Pune police have recently arrested five Maoist sympathizers in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence. These arrests were made in connection with another FIR registered against individuals with Maoist links who distributed books and pamphlets during the Elgar Parishad event. The arrested five had delivered provocative speeches along with Mevani-Khalid. A separate FIR was registered against the same by Pune-based activists, and a copy of the same was also sent to Ajit Doval as well as the central home ministry. Unfortunately, in spite of being named in the second FIR, both, Khalid-Mevani remain free birds.

After looking at all the factors, High Court remains the only option to take Pune Police to task for not investigating hate speech case against Mevani and Khalid.

Further, read more: 

Prakash Ambedkar should prove his charges or face a defamation case; says Milind Ekbote

Is Bhima Koregaon Event hijacked by Vermins to Spread Hatred in the Society?

Bhima Koregaon Diary: Pune administration’s ignorant approach helped Jignesh Mevani to spew venom?

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