‘Was framed,’ said BJP’s Ashwini Upadhyay after being released on bail
New Delhi: On August 11, a Delhi court granted bail to BJP leader and Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, who was arrested for uttering anti-Muslim threats in the form of slogans during a protest at Jantar Mantar. . Upadhyay claimed Delhi police had framed him.
A video showing anti-Muslim slogans raised during the protest was widely shared on social media. Delhi Police on Monday registered a related case, detaining Upadhyay and five others on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Upadhyay was represented in the trial court by four senior lawyers, including Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh, as well as Sidharth Luthra, Gopal Shankarnarayan and Ashwani Dubey.
Metropolitan magistrate Udbhav Kumar Jain granted relief to Upadhyay on a bond of Rs 50,000.
“With regard to the offense u / s 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc.) different groups were made in the presence or at the request of the accused”, a said the judge in the order.
Hundreds of people attended the demonstration organized by ‘Bharat Jodo Aandolan’ on Sunday August 8th. Shipra Srivastava, head of media for Bharat Jodo Aandolan, said the protest took place under Upadhyay’s leadership but denied any connection to those who raised anti-Muslim slogans.
Upadhyay also posted a video on Twitter reiterating the demand for a uniform civil code – which was made during Sunday’s protest which later saw violent threats against Muslims in the form of slogans. He claimed to have no connection with the organization of the protest and the slogans and said he was set up by the police.
Thread noted earlier that although Upadhyay had previously tweeted several photos and videos from the event, just prior to his arrest, he appeared to have deleted them from his Twitter timeline.
During the hearing, the court also checked with the public prosecutor and concluded that there was nothing against the accused in a video of the demonstration.
While granting bail, the court also noted that “there was no chance that the accused would run away.”
âThe plot is undoubtedly hatched behind closed doors and the investigation into this case is in its infancy. However, this does not imply that a citizen’s freedom is restricted on mere assertions and apprehensions, âthe court said.
The prosecution opposed the request during the hearing on the grounds that the release of the accused would be prejudicial to the maintenance of public tranquility and would create an even more serious situation for public order.
“There is a chance that the accused will create community discord,” he said.
âWe have to see the seriousness of the offense, the date, the time of the pandemicâ¦ Right now you are gathering so many peopleâ¦ You see the areaâ¦ The session of Parliament was going onâ¦ It was an illegal gatheringâ¦ All of these offenses have been committed. Section 149 is in issue. Even if in his presence, someone made a hate speechâ¦ â, declared the prosecution, according to Bar and Bench.
Lawyer Vikas Singh called the arrest a blatant abuse of power by the police. “The police cannot apprehend anyone indiscriminately,” he said, adding that it was “confessed that the accused was present at the scene in the morning and not at the time of the alleged incident related to the hate speech committed “.
The defense lawyer added that the FIR was registered late and argued that Upadhyay was “illegally incarcerated”.
Opposing the request, the prosecutor said the protest was made during the pandemic in which large gatherings are not allowed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that the rally also took place without any authorisation.
“The rally organized by the accused was an illegal gathering in which he actively participated knowing the common purpose of the rally,” said the prosecutor.
The court rejected the prosecution’s claim related to the pandemic. âIt is indeed a difficult time for everyone and a serious stand must be taken against those who violate the guidelines; yet the offenses, with regard to the violation of these guidelines, are of a dischargeable nature and can be dealt with by the court of first instance on the merits, âhe said.
He ordered Upadhyay to cooperate with ongoing investigations and to join the investigation as summons from the investigator. He further ordered the accused not to leave the country without the permission of the court and to âappear scrupulously at every stage of the proceedings before the relevant court so as not to hinder or delay its progressâ.
The accused was sent into custody yesterday by a court here, considering that his request for release on bail was pending.
Following the announcement of the release on bail of Upadhyay, some of the users of social networks underlined the ease with which the lawyer had obtained the release on bail and the marked contrast with the activists, comedians and journalists still in prison .
Delhi court grants bail to BJP chief @AshwiniUpadhyay. What is that #SiddiqueKappan rot for months in jail without bail for just doing their job, but someone who stages a hate rally where mobs call for the murder of minorities, gets immediate bail despite video evidence!
– Dr Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) August 11, 2021
Munawar Faruqui remained in prison for 40 days for a joke he never cracked.
Ashwini Upadhyay was released on bail within a day, even after organizing an event where communal slogans were thrown.
– Nimo Tai 2.0 (@Cryptic_Miind) August 11, 2021
– Sanitary panels (@sanitarypanels) August 11, 2021
Call for genocide of Muslims and get bail in one day.
This is how cheap Muslim lives are in India.
– Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) August 11, 2021
(With PTI inputs)