Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute

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2004: no one vandalised the institute

Vishwas Kothari, Court acquits all 68 accused of vandalising Maha institute, October 28, 2017: The Times of India

 A sessions court acquitted all 68 accused who were tried for vandalising the renowned Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) on January 5, 2004 following a row over American author James Laine's book `Shiva-ji: A Hindu king in Islamic India'.

“The evidence on record is not sufficient for convicting the accused,“ additional sessions judge Sanjashree Gharat held in the judgment which came after a trial that stretched almost 14 years. The names of each accused were called and the judge read out the operative part pronouncing that they were being acquitted for lack of evidence.

A total of 72 suspects were arrested at the institute and later chargesheeted for offences, including unlawful assembly , rioting with deadly weapons, voluntarily causing hurt, dacoity , damaging public property , criminal conspiracy and defiling a place of worship. Four of the accused died during the pendency of the trial and the case against them stood abated. The remaining 68 accused were then remanded in judicial custody for almost three months before being released on bail.

Additional public prosecutor Vilas Pathare told TOI, “We will study to the court's judgment and, accordingly , forward our proposal to the law and judiciary department on whether to go in for an appeal.“

More than 100 activists of the Sambhaji Brigade -then a little-known affiliate of the Maratha Seva Sangh -had allegedly ransacked the institute on January 5, 2004 on the grouse that it helped Laine in authoring the book that contained controversial remarks about Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shiva-ji Maharaj.

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