The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Tasleem Ali, a bangle seller, who was arrested in August on charges of child molestation and forgery, NDTV India reported.
Ali has spent a total of 107 days in jail. Two days before he was arrested, a group of men had assaulted and abused him for selling bangles in a “Hindu area”. They alleged that he had concealed his identity and harassed women on the pretext of selling bangles on Rakshabandhan day.
A video of the incident had shown the men using derogatory words for Muslims and asking Ali not to enter any “Hindu area”.
His lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi on Tuesday said that the court order was a victory of the Constitution, The Indian Express reported. “Justice Sujoy Paul in his order sheet has observed that Tasleem was beaten by hooligans and then a cross FIR [first information report] was registered after his complaint,” the lawyer said.
Ali has been accused of sexually harassing a Class 6 student in Indore. The FIR registered against him mentions sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.
The girl had told the police that she was at her home with her mother on August 22, when Ali came there to sell bangles at 2 pm, India Today had reported. As per the FIR, she informed the police about the incident at 5.49 pm on the next day.
In his plea, Ali said that he had been falsely accused of molestation after he filed a complaint against the group of men who beat him up on August 22, reported the Hindustan Times.
After Tuesday’s order, Ali’s counsel said that the judge noted that all the evidence has been collected and a chargesheet has been submitted in the case. He also alleged that senior state ministers and police officials had made attempts to delay Ali’s release.
The lawyer representing the bangle seller accused the prosecution of making a “deliberate attempt” to delay the bail procedure by saying that Ali “might tamper with evidence or he might escape as he hails from Uttar Pradesh”, reported India Today.
Hashmi alleged that the case was politically motivated and the attitude of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had been a “little harsh”, reported PTI.
The Uttar Pradesh government’s counsel, Aditya Garg, said the bail was granted after seeing Ali’s past record, according to the Hindustan Times. The bangle seller has also been asked to appear before the trial court for hearing.
On September 1, a district court had rejected Ali’s bail application. Subsequently, his application was not heard in the High Court on five scheduled dates of hearing, The Print reported.
On the first four occasions, the case was adjourned due to procedural reasons, including the non-availability of the case diary. The case was not heard on the fifth occasion on November 9, after which the judge recused himself from hearing the matter.
Meanwhile, Ali’s counsel pointed out that those who assaulted him had been released on bail within 30 days.