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Minorities panel to recommend ban on Hindu Rashtra Sena

The National Commission for Minorities will recommend that the government impose a ban on the Hindu Rashtra Sena, which was allegedly responsible for inciting communal clashes and the subsequent murder of techie Mohsin Shaikh in June

Almost three months after Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh was killed in the communal riots that hit the city in June this year, the National Commission for Minorities will recommend to the central government that the radical outfit, Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), be banned. According to the commission, the murder could have been prevented, had police been more vigilant. Their decision followed a visit by members, Dr Ajaib Singh, Tsering Namgyal Shanoo and Captain Praveen Davar, to the city on Monday, nearly twelve weeks after the incident on June 2.

Members of the National Commission for Minorities
Members of the National Commission for Minorities, (left to right) Tsering Namgyal Shanoo, Dr Ajaib Singh and Captain Praveen Davar

The panel visited the spot where Shaikh was killed, and met Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur as well. They also visited Shaikh’s family members, as well as representatives from Muslim organisations such as Khudai Khidmatgar, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and Committee for Muslim Protection and Rights Action.

Dhananjay Desai
Dhananjay Desai, the founder and president of radical outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena

Attributing the delay in their visit to the recent landslide at Malin and various other reasons, Dr Singh acknowledged the Muslim organisations’ demand for the ban on the HRS. “The Commission will also recommend the ban on the radical outfit. The idea of ‘India’ is that followers of all religions stay together in total harmony in the country,” he said.

“The Muslim community in Pune wants communal harmony. They have clearly stated that no innocent Hindu should be targeted. By and large, people are satisfied about the role the police played during the communal clashes,” added Captain Davar.

Shaikh, a 24-year-old IT manager, was allegedly beaten to death in the Sayyad Nagar area in Hadapsar by HRS activists after derogatory pictures of Shivaji Maharaj and Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray were uploaded on Facebook, sparking communal tensions across the city.

The commission pointed out that if the police had investigated six incidents of communal aggression that took place in the week preceding the murder, they might have been able to prevent it from happening. In fact, the panel said the six incidents themselves could have been averted had the police been more vigilant. “We found that six incidents that involved digging up of graveyards in Bhosari area, and stone pelting at mosques, could have been avoided if police had been more vigilant,” added Davar.

Demands from the Shaikh family

Mohsin’s father, Sadique Shaikh, has put forward a list of demands to the commission to assist the rehabilitation of the Shaikh family, as well as protect those affected by the communal clashes.

Sadique Shaikh

>> Police protection for eyewitnesses in the murder case
>> Punishment for those behind provocative posts on Facebook and the subsequent violent attacks
>> Financial assistance for those whose properties were destroyed during the riots
>> Measures by the police to prevent further unlawful activities by HRS
>> A ban on HRS z A government job for Mohsin’s younger brother, Mubeen Shaikh, as promised by the state

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