Chandigarh: A local court in Chandigarh acquitted 20 persons on August 26, 2022, twelve years after Hurriyat Conference Chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was allegedly roughed up and manhandled at a seminar in Chandigarh. Among the accused is former Mayor Asha Jaiswal.
According to a report published by The Tribune, the prosecution has failed to prove charges against the accused and a majority of the prosecution witnesses failed to identify them before the court. The report said there were contradictions in the statements of the witnesses that also led to the accused walking free.
The report identifying the other accused said the others include 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, the report said.
Pertinently, Mirwaiz was allegedly manhandled inside the conference hall of Kisan Bhawan in Sector 35 during a seminar organised by the International Democratic Party to discuss the Kashmir conflict on November 25, 2010.
The report said police had registered a case on the complaint of Kheta Singh, organiser, under Sections 147, 149 and 323 of the IPC and 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The Mirwaiz was sharing the dais with politicians of other parties when the attack occurred. Another Hurriyat leader Bilal Lone was also present.
Chaos followed as the protesters raised slogans against the Hurriyat and Pakistan and hurled stones and flower pots. The police had detained 22 people, including some women.
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 the case but it was rejected, The Tribune report said.
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.
The report quoting 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 the arguments, Judicial Magistrate First Class Jaspreet Singh Minhas acquitted the accused of all charges.