Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad visited Jama Masjid and read out the Preamble on 17 January 2020, a day after he was granted bail in relation with anti-CAA protests in Delhi on 20 December 2019. Azad’s visit to Jama Masjid sparked reactions that he was violating conditions of his bail order — which specified that Azad is not allowed to visit Delhi for the next four weeks.
However, a closer look at the Delhi sessions court bail order reveals that Azad is not violating the conditions of his bail. In the order dated 15 January 2020, judge Kamini Lau specifies that Azad is “permitted to visit Jama Masjid, Jor Bagh and Guru Ravidas Temple to pay his obesiance (sic)” within 24 hours of his release. Here’s the relevant paragraph from Judge Lau’s bail order.
The Delhi Police also clarified the conditions of Azad’s bail and released a statement which says, “He (Azad) has a time of 24 hours after his release from Tihar Jail yesterday, to leave Delhi. He is not holding any protest at Jama Masjid.”
How Media Got it Wrong
While images of Azad visiting Jama Masjid flooded the Internet, a number of people and sections of media incorrectly said that the Bhim Army chief was violating his bail order. Like this bulletin of Times Now, which headlined the incident as a violation.
Similarly, News18 Hindi also tweeted out its coverage of the incident by saying that Azad reached Jama Masjid “despite” the court’s orders.
Mail Today also incorrectly reported the incident and said that Azad had “defied” the Delhi court’s order.
Gaurav Sarkar, a senior reporter at Mid-Day, also claimed that Azad “defies” court order by visiting Jama Masjid. Sarkar deleted his tweet after the error was pointed out.
Meanwhile, holding a copy of the Constitution in one hand, Azad appealed to “people from all religions” to join anti-CAA protests. He said,
“Peaceful protest is our strength. People from all religions who support us should join us in great number to prove to the government that these protests are not led by Muslims alone.”
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