In an unexpected development, Adnan Mansuri, one of the three individuals apprehended in connection with the spitting incident during the Baba Mahakal procession in Ujjain last July, has been granted bail by the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. This incident also led to the demolition of Adnan’s residence by the district administration, citing unauthorised construction in the same month of his arrest.
The arrests took place on July 17, 2023, when Ujjain Police detained three Islamists, including two juveniles, for allegedly spitting on the second Baba Mahakal Procession. Reports suggest that a group of young men was observed spitting water on the procession as it passed through the Kharakuan Police Station area near the iron tank, a Muslim-dominated locality, during the second Monday of the Shravan month.
जुलाई 2023 में सोशल मीडिया पर एक वीडियो वायरल हुई कि उज्जैन में महाकाल की सवारी पर कुछ लोग थूक रहे हैं। मीडिया ने बिना जाँच पड़ताल के इस खबर को खूब दिखाया।
दूसरी तरफ पुलिस वायरल वीडियो के आधार पर लड़कों को गिरफ़्तार कर लेती है और उनके घरों पर बुलडोज़र भी चल जाता है।
अब खबर आई… pic.twitter.com/JypcJ5SzRQ
— Prashant (@prashantsingh_3) January 15, 2024
Despite objections from devotees and requests to desist, the individuals continued their actions. Disturbed by the incident, the devotees captured videos as evidence of the derogatory act. The subsequent arrest of Adnan Mansuri and the two juveniles marked a significant response from law enforcement.
However, with Adnan’s recent release on bail due to insufficient evidence, the case takes a surprising turn, leaving the community and authorities grappling with unanswered questions.
Subsequent to the conclusion of the procession, activists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal lodged a First Information Report (FIR 95/2023) at the Kharakuan police station, initiating legal action against the unidentified individuals.
The accused were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 153-A (offence committed in a place of worship), 296 (disturbing religious assembly), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
Masoom Jaiswal, a leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also arrived at the police station, urging stringent measures against the wrongdoers. The complaint was identified as Sawal Lot; in the FIR, he said he had come to Ujjain on a pilgrimage with his friends Yogesh Bagmar and Ajay Khatri to take part in the religious procession.
Lot accused Ashraf Hussain’s son Adnan Mansoori, who had just turned 18 years old in May 2023, and the two minors of spitting water on the religious procession from the roof with the intent to hurt religious sentiments.
“This incident has offended my religious sentiments and those of the entire community,” Lot said in the FIR. He was recorded as having submitted two videos captured by his friend Mausam Jaiswal to back his claim, according to the FIR.
Additional Superintendent of Police Akash Bhuria, addressing the media, revealed that the accused youths had been caught on camera spitting on the devotees during the procession. The arrested individuals included two aged 18 and 15, with the third, also 15, being their associate.
It is noteworthy that on July 19, the Ujjain district administration demolished the residence of Adnan Mansuri, which was deemed illegally constructed following his arrest in the spitting incident. A joint team comprising police and municipal corporation personnel, accompanied by drums and a DJ, executed the action at Adnan Mansuri’s residence at 10 a.m. on July 19. The shops in the Tanki Chowk neighbourhood were temporarily closed until the operation was concluded.
Additional Superintendent of Police Ujjain, Akash Bhuriya, clarified that the use of drums and DJ was part of the Munadi (public announcement system), mandated by law.
एक तरफ ढोल नगाड़े बज रहे हैं, दूसरी तरफ किसी का घर गिराया जा रहा है।
— Vishnukant (@vishnukant_7) July 19, 2023
Additionally, he remarked, “The measures were taken against those attempting to disrupt communal harmony and peace. The unauthorised section of the residence, duly identified and emphasised by the municipal corporation, was subsequently demolished.”
However, on December 15, 2023, Adnan was released on bail by the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court due to insufficient evidence against him. Adnan had spent a total of 151 days in detention prior to being granted bail.
In accordance with an order (MCRC 40105/2023), Justice Anil Verma, presiding over a single-judge bench, conveyed that the court had thoroughly considered the presented facts, and arguments from both parties and took into account the significant development that the complainant, Sawan Lot, had turned hostile. The order stated, “He did not support the case of prosecution” and also refuted a pertinent portion of the First Information Report (FIR).
Justice Verma’s order explicitly mentioned that the investigation had concluded, and Adnan Mansuri had no criminal record. “In view of the above, I deem it proper to release the applicant on bail,” affirmed the court.
Regarding the denial of bail for the minor offenders, Justice Verma deemed it legally unsustainable, asserting that the juvenile justice board had “committed jurisdictional error and illegality” in its rulings. Earlier, two of the minors were granted bail for a bond of Rs 25,000 each.