Mangaluru police firing: HC tells petitioners to explain ‘innocents’ claim

Directs government to submit report if any inquiry on firing was conducted

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the petitioners, who filed a PIL petition, to explain how they had come to the conclusion that two persons, who died in the police firing during an anti-CAA protest in Mangaluru on December 19, 2019, were ‘innocent’ persons.

The court also directed the petitioners, I.K. Mohammed Iqbal Elimale and B. Umer, both residents of Sullia taluk in Dakshina Kannada district, to file affidavits disclosing the details along with documents and materials in support of their claim that they are involved in social activities and working for safeguarding the interest of the public who are deprived of their basic fundamental rights, other than filing PIL petitions.

The court directed the State government to file statement whether any inquiry has been ordered into the incident of police firing and to submit the report, if any inquiry was conducted, to the court in a sealed cover.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar issued the direction after hearing the petition, in which the pleas have been made to the court to direct the government to hold a judicial inquiry and entrust the investigation into the police firing to an independent agency.

The bench observed that questioning the legality of police firing is a different aspect, but public can’t take sides while pointing out that what if the two persons, who ‘unfortunately’ died in the police firing, had indulged in rioting.

Earlier, the bench orally asked petitioner’s counsel on what basis the petitioners have given a ‘certificate of innocence’ to those who ‘unfortunately’ died in police firing.

When the counsel for the petitioners stated that newspaper reports indicated that two ‘innocent’ persons had died and seven others had sustained injuries in the police firing, the bench asked whether newspapers would decide who is innocent in the incident.

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