Almost 12 years after senior APHC leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was assaulted at a seminar in the Indian city of Chandigarh, a local court has acquitted all 20 accused, including former Mayor, Asha Jaiswal.
On November 25, 2010, the Mirwaiz was attacked inside the conference hall of Kisan Bhawan in Sector 35 during a seminar organised by the International Democratic Party to discuss the Kashmir dispute, said a report.
The police had registered a case on the complaint of Kheta Singh, organizer of the event, under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, it said.
“The Mirwaiz was sharing the dais with leaders of other parties when the attack occurred. Another Hurriyat leader Bilal Lone was also present,” it added.
Chaos followed as the protesters raised slogans against the Hurriyat leadership and Pakistan and hurled stones and flower pots. The police had detained 22 activists, including some women, the report said. The police later presented a charge-sheet and the court framed charges against the accused, who moved a discharge plea in 2017 but it was dismissed. In June 2018, the Chandigarh police moved an application in the trial court for withdrawal of case but it was rejected. The police then filed a criminal revision against the trial court order, but it was again dismissed by the court of the Additional Sessions Judge.
Counsels for accused Matvinder Singh, Aanchal Thakur and Ashok Chauhan said witnesses failed to identify those named in the FIR. Even the complainant denied having seen anyone attacking the Mirwaiz.
After hearing of the arguments, Judicial Magistrate First Class, Jaspreet Singh Minhas acquitted the accused of all charges, the report said.
The others acquitted included Rajinder Kaur, Sunita Dhawan, Satinder Singh, Usha Sharma, Meena Sharma, Sanjay Kaul, Sanjeev Rana, Hemant Galav, Amit Rana, Chandan Sandhu, Satyavan Shera, Vijay Bharadwaj, Arvind Rana, Sunil Kansal, Sanjeev Verma, Parvesh Sharma, and Dinesh Chauhan. One of the accused had died during the trial, while another was declared a proclaimed offender, it added.—KMS