97 acquitted in rioting case
Kolhapur, Nov 23 (UNI) A local court here today acquitted 97 persons who had stood accused of rioting.
The removal of a ''pan'' stall had fuelled violence between two communities at Vadange village in Karvir taluka of this district on the night of May 19, 2005.
Houses of some members of a tribal community had been set afire in the violence. Few villagers and policemen had also been injured in the free for all that had ensued. Police had to fire a few rounds in the air and burst tear-gas shells to disperse the rioting mob. As many as 97 villagers were arrested in this connection.
The main contention of the defence lawyers in this case was that at the time of the incident, there was a large mob and the village was in darkness because of load-shedding which would have made the identification of the culprits difficult. The 97 were arrested only on suspicion, the defence lawyers contended.
Sessions court judge S P Kulkarni upheld the argument and acquitted all the 97 persons today.
UNI BBK MAZ VD DB2259