Ujjain Mahakal case | Didn’t see anyone spitting, police made us sign blank papers, say complainant and witness

After the arrest of three, including two minors, in the case, Ujjain authorities had razed the family house of an accused

Published - January 17, 2024 03:31 am IST - Bhopal

The complainant and the witness in the Ujjain Mahakal procession spitting case said they did not see anybody spitting, and were made to sign documents and even blank papers by the police, they told a trial court recently. 

Two minors and 18-year-old Adnan Mansuri were arrested in July 2023 for allegedly spitting at Mahakal Sawari in Ujjain. The three are now out on bail.

Mr. Mansuri, his minor brother and another minor boy, both 15, were arrested on July 17 based on a complaint from one Sawan Lot and the statements from witness, Ajay Khatri. Three days later, Ujjain authorities also razed Mr. Mansuri’s family house with bulldozers, citing its “weak and poor condition”, as members of Hindutva outfits played drums.

Justice Anil Verma of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, while granting bail to Mr. Mansuri on December 15, referred to Mr. Lot and Mr. Khatri’s examination before the trial court (in October), during which the duo turned hostile and “did not support the case of prosecution”. “Mr. Lot also denied his portions of the FIR,” Justice Verma noted.

In their statements to the trial court, seen by The Hindu, both Mr. Lot and Mr. Khatri said they had only gone to the the alleged incident spot after seeing a crowd and hearing noises, when the police officers asked them and others to come to the police station.

“It was at the Kharakua police station when we found out that someone had allegedly spit at the Mahakal procession. At the station, we and several others were made to sign on blank papers. We all signed wherever we had been asked to but did not read the documents,” the two said in their separate statements.

“I did not see anyone spitting. There were several police officers at the station and they asked me to sign some documents which I did,” Mr. Lot said. He was also made to sign “some other documents” which he did not read, he said, and added that he was unaware of the contents of the FIR.

Denying that he had witnessed the alleged incident, Mr. Lot said the police did not take his “formal statement for the case nor did it show him any CCTV footage for identification of the accused persons”.

Viral video

Farhan Gori, a family friend of Mr. Mansuri, told The Hindu that Mr. Mansuri’s father, Ashraf Hussain, had to borrow money from relatives to manage finances for his two sons’ release. “You can imagine a father’s mental state whose two sons are in jail. His home was also torn down, so his family had to live at his brother’s house,” said Mr. Gori, a social activist and local journalist who helped the family in dealing with the case.

Mr. Gori also said, “The whole case was based on a viral video someone had recorded. The video showed the three boys standing on a building’s terrace with a water bottle in hand but does not even show any of them spitting.”

Mr. Mansuri’s counsel Devendra Sengar said the family has been in distress for a long time and even now they are not in a condition to talk. They don’t want this to get dragged on and want to live peacefully,” he said.

The two minor accused, who had been kept at a juvenile home, were granted bail by the High Court in September, over two months after their arrest.

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