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Cops trying to build strong case against HRS activists, want outfit banned

More than 17 persons associated with the Hindu Rashtra Sena have been put behind bars, and the Pune police are drawing up a proposal to be sent to the central government, seeking a ban on the group

A week after 28-year-old IT-graduate Mohsin Shaikh was allegedly murdered in Hadapsar by activists of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), Pune police are still in the dark about the exact role played by HRS chief Dhananjay Desai in the communal violence that erupted after posts on Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bal Thackeray uploaded on Facebook were deemed offensive last week.

Mohsin Shaikh
Tragic end: Mohsin Shaikh

Mohsin was murdered by a mob on the night of June 2, while he was returning home in Sayyadnagar after attending a peace committee meeting with police officials. Although police have arrested more than 17 persons associated with the HRS in connection to Mohsin’s murder case, it is to be seen what action is taken against Desai, who has 23 cases registered against him at various police stations across the Pune city and district areas. Pune police are also seeking a ban on the HRS, and are compiling all relevant information about its activities since its formation.

The proposal regarding this ban will be forwarded to the central government soon, which will take a final call in this regard.
For now, Pune police are also trying to file charges under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act against the suspects, which could lead to their detention in Yerawada jail for at least a year.

Police sources said that seven suspects arrested initially from the site of the murder had exchanged messages on their mobile phones about the murder. These messages will work as crucial evidence in this case. A senior police official said that although it is clear that Desai had instigated the youths to target a particular community, the city police would be gathering all possible evidence so that a foolproof case can be presented in court.

When asked about the possible action that could be taken against Desai, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Sanjay Kumar said, “We are still investigating the case. So far, we don’t have evidence against Desai and hence we haven’t arrested him in the Hadapsar murder case.”

The investigations into the allegedly objectionable posts on Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bal Thackeray on Facebook have also reached a dead end. Pune police have received no information yet from the social networking site’s officials, about the identity of the person who uploaded the posts.

23 arrested for offensive post

Regarding incidents of fresh violence related to another objectionable post on Dr B R Ambedkar that was reported in the city on Sunday, Joint Commissioner of Police Kumar said, “We have registered a total of 13 cases in this regard at different police stations. Twenty three persons have been arrested and 150 detained as part of preventive measures. Dattawadi was most affected, with six offences reported in the area.” Kumar added, “We have also re-oriented the police bandobast in the city to avoid any more untoward incidents.”

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