Karnataka High Court grants bail to Bhatkal woman accused of being Pakistani

05:14AM Fri 11 Nov, 2022

Bengaluru, Nov 10 (IANS): The Karnataka High Court on Thursday granted bail to a mother of three kids, who was alleged of to be a Pakistan national by investigating agencies. "The accused can't be kept in judicial custody by mere suspicion. She is eligible to get released on bail," the bench headed by Justice Shivashankar Amarannavar said. Khatija Mehrin, 33, was in judicial custody for 16 months. She has been lodged in prison with her two-and-half-year old kid. The bench observed that unfortunately the petitioner has become a scapegoat in the hand of olice and she should not be detained merely on suspicion or doubt. In her petition, Khatija Mehrin claimed that she was born in Bhatkal and studied in Naunihal Central School. During her imprisonment, her husband Mohiddin Rukuddin from Bhatkal died on April 22, 2022. Khatija Mehrin further stated that she had three kids of seven years, five years and the youngest kid is with her in the prison as she sought bail. Taking up her petition, the court stated that it is clearly mentioned that there is no prima facie case made out against the petitioner. It also said that the petitioner was arrested under the Foreigners Act which attracts maximum of five years of imprisonment and IPC Section attracts seven years of imprisonment. The accused had already spent more than 1.4 years in the prison and even if she is proved guilty, it won't attract capital or life imprisonment. Hence, there is no need for long term imprisonment, the court ruled. Khatija Mehrin was arrested during the police raids conducted by the police in Bhatkal town of Uttara Kannada district. The police had arrested her on suspicion that she is a Pakistan national who has stayed since 2014. They had seized her Aadhaar card, Pan card, ration card, voter identity card and other documents. It was stated that she entered the country with the help of some agents. After the police got a tip off, she was held for violating provisions of the Foreigners Act. The police claimed that she travelled on a tourist visa to India for three months in 2015 and stayed back illegally.