Man's hacking in Rajasthan: SC asks widow to file fresh plea

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today granted liberty to the widow of a Muslim labourer from West Bengal, who was hacked and burnt alive in Rajasthan on December 6 last year, to file a fresh petition seeking an independent probe into the murder.

Gulbahar Bibi, wife of 50-year-old Mohammed Bhatta Sheikh, is also seeking a direction that the video of her husband’s ghastly murder and setting him ablaze be withdrawn from the internet and social media sites.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra allowed senior lawyer Indira Jaising, counsel for Bibi, to withdraw the present plea and file a “better petition” and asked the apex court registry to list the fresh one for hearing on February 5.

“File a properly drafted petition. We allow the present writ petition to be withdrawn with the liberty to file a fresh one,” the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

Earlier, the top court had termed as “horrendous” the video of the Muslim labourer being hacked and burnt alive in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district on December 6 last year.

Sheikh’s widow is seeking an impartial Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the dastardly murder, besides withdrawal of the video from being circulated on the internet.

The top court had said it would consider issuing appropriate directions, but asked Bibi’s counsel to file a “properly-worded” petition as the present one was “poorly drafted”.

Jaising had then said the video has already been seen by millions of people and a direction be issued to the Centre and the state government to ensure that it was not circulated any further and withdrawn from the internet.

She had also said the victims should be granted fundamental right to access to justice, as “unruly crowd has been attempting to stall the judicial process to favour the accused.”

Jaising had said that the “unruly crowd” rushed to the trial court during the proceedings in support of the accused, leading to denial of access to justice to the victims.

The Muslim labourer, hailing from West Bengal, was allegedly hacked and burnt alive on December 6 last year and the entire murder was recorded on camera by the minor nephew of accused Shambhulal Regar, wo is in judicial custody.

Regar, after killing Sheikh was allegedly seen on a video ranting that he did it to ‘stop Love Jihad’, a term publicised to refer to Muslim men marrying Hindu women.

In the video, later uploaded on social media, the accused is allegedly seen threatening on camera and saying “Those who will commit love jihad will meet with the same fate”.

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