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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Hari Masjid firing: Riot victim moves HC

The 41-year-old security guard moves the Bombay High Court, asking it to direct the Mumbai police commissioner to register an offence of homicide against Nikhil Kapse, reports Chitrangada Choudhury.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2007 03:34 IST
Chitrangada Choudhury
Chitrangada Choudhury
Hindustan Times

Six men from Farook Mapkar’s neighbourhood died in police firing during the Bombay riots of 1992-93 in what has been dubbed the ‘Hari Masjid firing.’

The police said they had fired to quell a riotous mob. But the Srikrishna Commission set up to probe the riots found the firing at men praying in the mosque “unprovoked”, and the police explanation “fabricated”.

More than 14 years later, Mapkar wants justice for those killed in that firing. They are among 900 people who died in the riots. The 41-year-old security guard moved the Bombay High Court on August 1, asking it to direct the Mumbai police commissioner to register an offence of homicide against Nikhil Kapse, the sub-inspector who led the firing, and colleagues whose culpability an investigation might reveal.

In its report released in 1998, the Srikrishna Commission, whose recommendations the Vilasrao Deshmukh-led government is now under increasing pressure to implement, described in great detail the violence during the rioting. It said “the government should take strict action” against Kapse, who “was guilty of not only unjustified firing, but also brutal and inhuman behaviour”.

Kapse, now an assistant police inspector in the economic offences wing, did not answer his mobile phone despite repeated calls by HT.

Recalling the incident on 10 January, 1993, Mapkar says: “I went to offer prayers as usual. There were over 100 devotees in the mosque. A group of policemen, led by Kapse, charged in and began firing at us…everyone ran for their lives. I did not even realise I had a bullet hit my back until a person behind me pointed out my bloodied shirt.”

In 1994, the police registered a case of murder and rioting against 54 people, including Mapkar. But the Sewree sessions court rejected the police case, and acquitted most of the accused in February 2006.

Mapkar, a father of three, said he wrote to his local police station after the acquittal, but they still did not register an FIR against Kapse. He now pins his hopes on the High Court.

“People like me have spent over a decade making rounds of courts, responding to false charges by the police, while the real criminals are still scot-free. Justice should not be one-sided.”

First Published: Aug 04, 2007 03:29 IST