The police in Maharashtra’s Akola have asked Muslim men accused of involvement in last month’s communal violence to bring Hindu guarantors in order for them to be released on bail, their lawyer alleged on Tuesday.

However, a senior police official denied the claim.

On May 13, violence broke out in Akola between Hindus and Muslims in connection with a social media post about the The Kerala Story, which claims to depict how women from the southern state were converted to Islam and recruited by the Islamic State terrorist group.

The violence left one person dead and eight injured.

Around 150 Muslim men were arrested in connection with the violence. Advocate M Badar, who represents at least 26 of them, said that about 90% of the Muslim men got bail from the local sessions court on the condition that they present themselves for two hours every week at the Crime Branch.

However, Badar said that when the men visited the Crime Branch, the police verbally told them to bring a separate Hindu guarantor for each accused person.

“They [police] said that failing this, the accused would be rearrested as a preventive measure,” the lawyer told Scroll. “We have given written submissions to the local Crime Branch and the superintendent of police that this is unconstitutional.”

Badar said that the police refused put down this condition about a Hindu guarantor in writing. “But they have continued harassment of the Muslim accused [by telling them to] bring a Hindu guarantor,” he said. “These are poor people...the police are going against a judgement of the Bombay High Court.”

On June 17, the Association for Protection of Civil Rights made a representation to Akola Superintendent of Police Sandeep Ghuge demanding that authorities withdraw the requirement of a cross-surety, The Times of India reported.

However, Ghuge told Scroll that there was no compulsion for the accused men to get a Hindu guarantor to get bail. “That is a rumour,” he said.

The superintendent of police said that the authorities were asking for sureties based on the economic condition of the accused persons.