Maval firing or encounter?

MUMBAI: Terming the Maval firing incident as an ‘encounter’, the Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, questioned the state government why no action had been taken against the guilty officers.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka was hearing a public interest litigation filed by an activist G Khandewal seeking probe by an independent investigating agency and not the local police as it will not be fair. On August 9 last year, police had opened fire on farmers who had gathered to oppose laying of a closed pipeline to supply water from Pavna dam. Three agitators were killed and 19 were injured in the incident.

“The investigation is going on at snail’s pace in a serious matter like this,” Justice Majumdar said adding that 6 months have been passed since the first information report (FIR)  was registered  however there seems to be investigation in the matter.  The court directed the government to file affidavit, by March 26, explaining whether departmental inquiry has been initiated against the erring police officers who have been named in the FIR.

Rapping the police for not following the proper course Justice Majumdar asked if the police took permission from an executive magistrate before opening fire on the agitating unarmed farmers?  “Firing has to be done in the air first in order to disperse the crowd then on leg…. never on the chest. Was lathicharge done or tear gas used before opening fire?” He questioned.

The court observed that prima facie the case appears to be of  ‘homicidal murder’. The  court asked government to act rapidly to ‘restore public confidence’ and directed the Chief Secretary to see that the matter is investigated seriously and informed the court about progress of the investigation. The matter has been posted for hearing on March 27.

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