A 29-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh who had been accused of sexually assaulting a boy and had his hand chopped off in a case of alleged religious hate crime in Haryana has been acquitted of charges against him.
Relatives of Ikhlaq Salmani had claimed that his hand was chopped by some local men in Panipat allegedly after they saw a religious tattoo ‘786’ on his hand.
He had travelled to Panipat to look for a job in September 2020.
The police had registered a First Information Report or FIR on Ikhlaq’s complaint.
However, a second FIR was filed on the same day by the men who allegedly attacked Ikhlaq, accusing him of “sodomising” a young boy in their family in August and claiming that he hurt himself when he fell on railway tracks nearby while he was fleeing.
The court has acquitted Ikhlaq of the charges against him under the strict law involving child sex abuse and has raised doubts about the prosecution’s account.
It noted that the sexual assault charges had not been “corroborated by any medical evidence, which runs rather contrary to the assertions made by the victim”.
“This court is of the view that because of the inconsistencies, contradictions and the improbabilities in the testimonies of the victim, his father and uncle (complainant), the presumptions have been rebutted. Consequently, it is held that the testimony of the victim, his father and uncle is not sufficient and cannot become the sole basis to convict the accused,” it said.
It also questioned the delay in filing the complaint about the alleged sexual assault – which the accusers had tried to explain by saying “they were searching themselves for the accused”.
“Complainant has himself stated in his complaint that the accused disclosed his name and address to him before fleeing from the spot. Why they did not immediately report the matter to the police and what is need to search for the accused on their own part?” the court asked.
“A doubt is created upon the story of the prosecution, as the delay has not been satisfactory explained by the complainant. In fact, the entire version of the prosecution is improbable and has remained uncorroborated and unexplained in many aspects,” the court said.