Mumbai: Maharashtra Government on Wednesday agreed
to have a judicial probe of the police firing in Jalna
district on Monday.
Police said they had to fire to quell the mob which had
become violent after 14 pilgrims were run over by a private
Replying to an adjournment motion on the issue in the
Legislative Assembly, Home Minister R R Patil said prima facie
the firing seemed to be justified as there was a massive
stone-pelting by the villagers after the accident.
"Warkaris (pilgrims) were cooperating with the police and
had been gathered on roadside. Police did not cane warkaris,
nor did they fire upon warkaris," Patil asserted, adding that
no warkari was hurt in the police firing.
Patil said eight to nine police vehicles were burnt by
the rampaging mob. There was also an oil tanker parked nearby,
and there could have been massive damage, had it been set on
fire by the mob, he said.
Police resorted to caning, and also fired tear-gas shells
before firing 37 rounds in the air, he said.
Patil said he had photographs to show that the stones
pelted by the villagers landed where the bodies of dead
warkaris were kept. The situation could have gone out of hand
if the police had not acted, he stated.
Two persons were killed and three were injured in the
firing, the Home Minister said, assuring that an inquiry would
be conducted by the Revenue Commissioner from another district
to find out if the firing was necessary. However the
Opposition was not agreeable.
"How can a Revenue Commissioner conduct a probe as to
whether police firing was necessary?" asked Leader of
opposition, Eknath Khadse (BJP).
Patil said that Commissioner`s findings would be shared
with the party leaders in the Assembly,?and if they were not
satisfied, he would order a judicial probe.
But with the Opposition unrelenting, the Home Minister
finally agreed to a judicial probe.
He also agreed to increase the compensation amount. The
Chief Minister had announced the compensation of Rs one lakh
on Monday evening, but Khadse said it should be Rs 5 lakh
The Home Minster said government would bear the treatment
expenses of the injured.
Adding that the driver of the container was found to be
drunk, he said government will take action against the owner
of the container too, "as per the law".