The Orissa high court has recently denied anticipatory bail to a person accused of leading a group of people to attack shops belonging to Muslim community and raising slogans against them, which led to a violent situation in Sambalpur town last month, in the case of Aniket Mishra v. State of Odisha (ABLAPL No. 4068 of 2023), by thethe Single Judge Bench of Justice Chittaranjan Dash
Facts of the Case:
A number of people, including the petitioner, are the subjects of a FIR for allegedly looting the New Alishan Shoe Center in Sambalpur on April 14, 2023. When a parade was being led to honor Hanuman Jayanti, the tragedy happened. The first investigation revealed that around 50 people stormed the Shoe Centre and yelled harsh and inflammatory statements against the Muslim populations, outraging their religious sentiments, by taking advantage of the large crowd present during the Hanuman Jayanti parade.
In response to several violent occurrences that occurred at a bike rally organized by the Hanuman Jayanti Seva Samiti on April 12, 2023, it was alleged that the petitioner commanded the group and had earlier planned to damage Muslim community stores and homes. This created a highly worrying scenario, as a result of which Sambalpur Town had to be placed under curfew. In order to get anticipatory bail before being arrested, the petitioner went to the High Court. In his defense, he claimed that he was wrongly accused of the purported event and that he played no part in it. He maintained that he was not charged with any of the alleged offenses in the FIR.
The Court further stated that there is nothing in the FIR that would lead one to believe the petitioner has a high-profile job, hence raising the possibility that he may have been the target of untrue accusations intended to discredit him.
The Court believed that granting anticipatory bail would be detrimental, particularly when the atmosphere was tense and not entirely typical at the time. As a result, the anticipatory bail application was denied.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY HARSHEEN KAUR LUTHRA, RGNUL, PUNJAB