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Main complainant in MP sedition case goes into hiding, accuses police of intimidating him

Subhash Koli had contradicted the police version in the sedition case filed against 15 Muslims for allegedly bursting firecrackers after India-Pakistan match.

Hours after Subhash Koli, a dish antennae repairer from Mohad village in Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur district, submitted an affidavit in court on Saturday accusing the police of fabricating a case against 15 Muslim residents of the village, police officials arrived at his house at 2.30 am in the early hours of Sunday morning to question him.

The police had filed a case against the Muslim men for allegedly bursting firecrackers, chanting pro-Pakistan slogans and distributing sweets during and after the India-Pakistan Champions Trophy final on June 18. As reported earlier, Koli, who is listed as the complainant in the case, has refuted the police version.

“I knew that the police could come to my house at any time so I had not gone there to sleep,” Koli told on the phone on Sunday evening while still in hiding. “So they instead questioned my wife and demanded to know where I was. I am fighting for the truth to save these [arrested] children and now the police is trying to put pressure on me.”

Under pressure, his wife informed the police officials of Shahpur taluka that Koli had gone to his in-law’s place. At 4 pm on Sunday, the police returned to Koli’s house to get details of his in-law’s family, along with their mobile numbers. Koli has been in hiding since late Saturday.

While the police had initially filed charges of sedition against the 15 Muslim men, they later dropped this charge and replaced it with one of disturbing communal harmony. The 15 accused are at present in Khandwa jail.

Koli, however, claims that he had not complained at all, but that he had gone to the police station with his father and friend Salim Mansuri on the night of June 18 to see if he could secure the release of one of his neighbours, Anis Mansuri, who was one of the first men to have been picked up. When he reached the police station, he alleges, the police forced him to sign a false complaint and used his mobile phone to dial 100 as a pretext for them to return to the village and arrest more men.

A copy of the affidavit filed by Subhash Koli in the Burhanpur district court on Saturday.
A copy of the affidavit filed by Subhash Koli in the Burhanpur district court on Saturday.

“These days it seems as if according to the police, those who support lies must be praised and this [intimidation] will happen to those who stand up for the truth,” Koli said on the phone. “First of all, the police used my name to put those children in jail. And now they are putting pressure on me. There must be a CBI inquiry into this.”

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