Bombay: 11 years later, six accused of manufacturing paper bags with religious content acquitted | Bombay News

The evidence in the record is not at all sufficient to prove any charge against the accused. The prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused (Representative image)

MUMBAI: Eleven years after six men were convicted and arrested for using photocopies of Quran pages to make paper bags, a lower court acquitted them, finding there was no evidence that they were aware of the content written in Arabic. The defendants were released on bail.
The court noted that the important element to charge a person under the offense is intent or knowledge to insult religion by desecrating any place of worship or any object held sacred by any class of people.
“In this case, the prosecution has brought no evidence to show that anyone knew the paper bags were prepared from the pages of the Quran and intentionally used it to insult religion…or used the paper bags with the knowledge that any class of people is likely to consider such an act an insult to their religion.
The evidence in the record is not at all sufficient to prove any charge against the accused. The prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused,” the magistrate said.
An informant told police that on April 11, 2011, he learned of a medical store near his home in Andheri (E) using paper bags made from pages of the Quran. He said he went to the store with other people and asked the store owner not to use such paper bags. However, three days later, they saw a boy carrying the paper bag. The man said they again went to the medical store and also informed the police. Later, police arrived and seized 83 paper bags with Arabic content and arrested three shop workers – Pravin Prajapati, Suresh Vyas and Babulal Chaudhary.
Subsequently, store owner Hemant Chaudhary, scrap metal buyer Asim Amin and paper bag merchant Trilochan Rawalo were also arrested. Seven other bags were allegedly seized from Rawalo’s home.
The informant testified in court and reiterated what he told the cops. However, the court did not consider the witness statements sufficient to convict the accused. “Except for the oral evidence, no other evidence has been recorded to show that the paper bags seized from a medical shop and from the home of the accused (Rawalo) were in fact prepared from the pages of the Quran “The seized paper bags were not produced in court as evidence. The prosecution did not question any witnesses who knew the Arabic language,” the court noted.

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