Field Notes: ‘My Children Came Home Safely. That’s Everything For Me’


When the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court approved the bail application of 18-year-old Adnan Mansuri on 15 December 2023, Adnan was in jail for 151 days after being accused of spitting water on the Hindu religious procession on 17 July 2023 in Ujjain in western Madhya Pradesh.

While reporting that the high court granted bail because the complainant Sawan Lot and the witness Ajay Khatri had turned hostile in the court, saying the police misquoted them, I couldn’t help thinking that it must have been easy granting bail when the police case falls apart like it did here. But what I found missing from the bail order was any kind of rebuke or chastisement of the police for accusing the teenager in a seemingly false case. 

The MP police had lodged an FIR and arrested Adnan and two Muslim minors on 17 July based on Lot’s complaint that the alleged spitting hurt his religious sentiments and two unverified videos in which three teenagers were seen standing on the roof of a building with a water bottle, watching a procession. Right-wing groups and sections of the media fanned the story. 

The administration razed the three-storey building where Adnan lived with his family 36 hours after the incident, serving a backdated demolition notice addressing his late grandmother in whose name the property was registered. 

The two minors in the case, including Adnan’s younger brother, were granted bail in September. 

Lot and Khatri said they had not identified the accused, and the video was never produced in court. 

I thought more about the BJP state government getting away with all this without as much as a slap on the wrist from the court. I also thought about how the high court in MP said nothing when the bulldozers razed the homes of mostly Muslims after Hindus and Muslims clashed when a Hindu religious procession, reportedly playing loud and provocative songs, passed close to a mosque in the town of Khargone in April 2022. 

When the BJP-led Haryana government was bulldozing mostly homes of Muslims in Nuh and Gurugram following the communal violence that erupted after a Hindu religious procession made its way through a Muslim area in August 2023 and was rumoured to be attended by a Hindu extremist accused of murdering two Muslim men, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo moto cognisance of the demolition. The high court stopped the bulldozers, asking if the targeting of buildings of a particular community was "ethnic cleansing”?

The Supreme Court stopped the bulldozers when the BJP-run municipal corporation in Delhi was demolishing Muslim shops in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri following violence that erupted in April 2022 when a Hindu mob led a religious procession through the Muslim neighbourhood and was loud and provocative.

In the past four years, the Madhya Pradesh government has demolished homes under the garb of “not having building permission”, “dangerous buildings”, and “encroachment” on government land. Typically, homes were razed without due process after the homeowner or a family member was accused of a crime. 

Indore-based advocate Aashar Warsi has filed over two dozen petitions against unlawful demolitions at the Indore bench and is struggling for dates. 

"Neither we get dates nor stays except in a few cases," said Warsi. "Clients blame advocates for being unable to provide relief, bail or stay orders, but the court is unwilling to take up the case. Advocates are helpless."

With no hope of holding the State accountable for the injustice his family has suffered, Adnan's father, Ashraf Mansuri, has no plans of taking legal action against the police or the Ujjain municipal corporation for demolishing his house.

“My children came home safely. That’s everything for me. I want nothing more,” he said.

Read Kashif Kakvi’s full story here

Also read:

Write a comment ...