Nanded (Maharashtra), Oct 19, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
United Sikhs legal team secured bail for six of those arrested in the Hola Mohalla case in the city of Nanded in the western state of Maharashtra. A journey for the bails of the Sikh boys began when over two dozen Sikhs were arrested on false charges after the March 29 traditional Halla Bol procession.
After five months of intense efforts, most of the detainees were released on bail this week. The arrested Sikhs included 3 elderly men and 4 juveniles. Upon getting released they all mentioned that during the initial days of the arrest they were tortured and that the only ones spared were the elderly. In fact one detainee was taken to the hospital under duress.
3 FIR’s were lodged on the behest of a police inspector, constable and from a gurdwara granthi who was made to do so under threat. FIR’s were also lodged on 61 identified, plus 300-400 unidentified individuals as a means to harass and leverage broader powers to make future arrests.
Based on legal arguments of our council, 23 Sikhs have been released on bail this week. All of them face many many years of legal battles in the courts to get their names cleared.
This tale of injustice started on Holla Mohalla, a three day Sikh festival in March. Sikh devotees were being prevented by local Nanded police from gathering and observing the Hola Mohalla procession at Gurudwara Sahib.
Despite barricades preventing and blocking community members into the Gurudwara on the day of Hola Mohalla, hundreds of devotees made their way into the Gurudwara premises so they could take part in the once in a year celebration. As these devotees attempted to take out a procession violent scuffles ensued.
Later in the day Nanded police officers spread out across the city and arrested 29 Sikhs who were not connected to the violence earlier in the day. Many were picked up from homes, some at city intersections and others at transportation hubs.
Local politicians began wielding influence on police and the judiciary which has repeatedly prevented due process. Our volunteers have spent months tirelessly working alongside legal teams including making visits to the state Home Minister to defend the rights of the arrested Sikh men.
Many of these Sikh men come from very humble backgrounds with meager resources. Our teams feel humbled at the opportunity given by the local community members to provide legal representation to the most vulnerable Sikhs whose families could not afford legal fees. In fact multiple families were provided with daily essentials and assistance whilst their breadwinners were in detainment.
We extend our deep gratitude to UNITED SIKHS legal advisor Navkiran Singh. Also we want to highlight the work of Senior Council Ranjendra Deshmukh (High Court – Aurangabad), Senior Advocate A. G. Parvalkar (Session Court Nanded), Advocate Manpreet Singh, Advocate Amanpal Singh and Advocate Rajwant Singh in representing the detainees. We thank Mr. Sirsa of the DSGMC and all others who met with local officials to help in the release of those arrested.
We are committed to providing any required legal representation to these Sikh men along with anticipatory bails for many others in Nanded who have been falsely ensnared in FIR’s. Also we will stand with their families in looking to fulfill their unmet needs whilst this process is underway.