July 3, 2008

1993 riots case: Key witness identifies Sena leader Sarpotdar

Posted in Riots tagged , , , , , at 4:51 am by zarb


1993 riots case: Key witness identifies Sena leader Sarpotdar

A prime witness in the 1993 riots case against Shiv Sena leader Madhukar Sarpotdar on Friday was the first among six persons to identify him before a special court. Police Inspector (PI) Madhav Khanolkar, told the court that he was on duty on December 27, 1992, when a mob of people from the Ganesh Utsav Samiti Mandal gathered near the Ganesh temple in suburban Kherwadi area of Mumbai. He said Sarpotdar, one K P Naik and Ramesh Pawar from Sena were present with the trustees of the Mandal. The trio had been charged with giving inflammatory speeches after taking a procession in the area.

Khanolkar, now retired, was a police inspector at the Nirmal Nagar police when the case against Sarpotdar was registered. “I cannot tell the exact words of their speech but these speeches were regarding the demolition of the Babri Masjid and that the government was taking sides with Muslims and harassing the Hindus,” said Khanolkar.

He said some of the slogans on the placards carried by the mob stated “Mandir Wahin Banega (the temple will be built there only)”, “Is desh main rehna hain toh Vandemaataram kehna hoga (if they want to stay in this country they have to say ‘I owe to you mother’)”. “The speeches were instigating and inflammatory to the two religions,” he added.

Defence lawyer J P Bagoria, however, cross-examined him asking if Khanolkar was aware that an application was made seeking permission for the processions, which the latter was not aware of. Bagoria presented copies of the application before the court stating that the procession was religious in nature. Khanolkar denied it saying the procession was for political intent under the garb of religion and it violated the orders of the Commissioner of Police restricting assembly of more than five persons for security reasons.



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