Two activists associated with Bhojshala Mukti Andolan continue to face imprisonment because of an error on the part of the state home department in 2004, triggering a legal wrangle.
An 11th century monument, Bhojshala has emerged as a religious flashpoint in Dhar district on which Hindus and Muslims have laid claims. Communal riots followed after police thwarted attempts by Hindu Jagaran Manch and Bhoj Utsav Samiti to break a lock on the monument on February 20, 2003.
Then CM Uma Bharti withdrew cases against all Bhojshala Mukti Andolan activists
The next day, a criminal case was registered against advocate Brajesh Singh Sisodia and local resident Nilesh Sen for stoking the riot. On October 12, 2004, Dhar district and sessions judge GD Mishra ordered a year of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1000 on the two. In 2004, BJP came to power and the then chief minister Uma Bharti withdrew criminal cases against all Bhojshala Mukti Andolan activists.
Letter about case withdrawal sent to Badnavar instead of Kanvan police station
In 2004, the state home department sent a letter about case withdrawal to Badnavar police station instead of Kanvan police station where the criminal case against the two was originally registered. In reply, Badnavar police station told the department that no case was registered against Sisodia and Sen at their police station.
Although the two have been out on bail since November 5, 2004, they had appealed against the sessions court order before Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh high court but the appeal is still pending.
“Had the department’s letter reached Kanvan police station, the case would have been withdrawn. We are trying for case withdrawal since 2004. Meanwhile, the sessions court ordered our imprisonment,” Sisodia told HT.
In September 2015, the two wrote a letter to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan after which the chief minister’s office forwarded it to the additional chief secretary of home department but to no avail.
When Sisodia contacted the state home department under Right To Information Act, 2005, the latter declined to part with information saying that information Sisodia has sought is exempted under Section 24 (4) of the Act.