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2017 Panchkula violence: 10 acquitted in rioting, attempt to murder case

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent, Panchkula
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2020 12:21 AM IST

A local court on Saturday acquitted 10 persons of attempt to murder, rioting and violence that took place on August 25, 2017, following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case.

Additional sessions judge Sanjay Sandhir acquitted the 10 persons who were booked under different sections for above-mentioned charges in the FIR registered at the Sector-5 police station here.

The court’s decision has come as yet another blow to the Haryana government as it is said to be the eighth case pertaining to the 2017 large-scale violence which fell flat.

Forty-one people had died in Haryana and Punjab, mostly in Panchkula, where large-scale arson took place as dera followers assembled in lakhs and resorted to violence after the verdict.

The accused acquitted on Thursday are Bhagwant Singh, Devi Dayal, Nazir Singh, Amrit Pal, Dalbir Singh and Gurinder Singh (all residents of Patiala); Jagjeet Singh, Jagtar Singh (both residents of Sangrur); Madhur Hans, a resident of Rohtak and Kastoori Lal of Ganga Nagar (Rajasthan).

‘Mob had set the tender on fire’

The three eyewitness presented by the prosecution failed to identify the accused and said a mob set the fire tender ablaze. The prosecution alleged that on August 25, 2017, a fire tender was stationed at Hafed Crossing in Sector 5, which along with other vehicles of media houses, was set on fire by the rioters. Staff inside the vehicle had a close shave as rioters had also pelted stones at the fire tender.

The prosecution also held that a fireman, Surinder Kumar, had sustained injuries in the attack. However, acquitting the accused, the judge in his 19-page judgment held that the prosecution was not able to establish its case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The order read that the identity of the accused persons was not established in the present case.

Prosecution witnesses, fireman Sunil Kumar, tender driver Achee Lal and injured Surinder Kumar, when examined in the court deposed that it was the mob which had set the fire tender ablaze and as many people were indulging in stone-pelting, there was a total chaos, therefore accused persons could not be identified, the court was told.

All the said three witnesses stated that no test of identification was conducted by the police.

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