‘Will Visit Jama Masjid on 17 Jan’: Azad After Getting Released
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Video Producer: Srishti Tyagi
Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad after being released from Tihar Jail, late on Thursday, 16 January, said that he will visit Jama Masjid on Friday at 1 pm, followed by a visit to Ravidas temple, a gurudwara and a church, ANI reported.
He further said, “Humara andolan samvidhanik roop se jaari rahega jab tak yeh kanoon wapas nahi liya jaata. Jo log mulk ko bantna chahte hain hum unke khilaaf hain.” (Translated: Our protest will continue in a constitutional manner till the time this law is not taken back. We are against the people who want to divide the country)
A Delhi court granted him bail on Wednesday, in connection with the Daryaganj violence on 20 December. The court, however, imposed movement restrictions on him for a month, ordering him to not hold any protest in Delhi till 16 February.
Azad was arrested by Delhi Police on the intervening night of 20-21 December from the gates of Jama Masjid after the Daryaganj protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were disrupted, leading to violence. He had been in judicial custody for 26 days.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau granted the relief to Azad on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000.
The court also said that before going to Saharanpur, if Azad wants to go anywhere, including Jama Masjid, in Delhi till 24 hours, police will escort him there.
Special circumstances call for special conditions, the judge said.
While hearing the bail application of Azad for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, Judge Lau had said, “It's a recent trend these days that last resort comes first these days. People are protesting first, without dialogue. Why not try dialogue first?”
RECITING RABINDRANATH TAGORE’S POEM
The Delhi court, while granting the bail, recited Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem 'Where the Mind is Without Fear' and said citizens have a fundamental right to peaceful protest which cannot be curtailed by the State.
“I am reminded of our reverend patriotic poet Rabindranath Tagore who is most relevant today. He, during the colonial era in early 1900’s when British followed the policy of Divide and Rule, visualised a nation where where there is no fear in the minds of people and education is attained by all; people are enlightened and do not create walls of discrimination.”Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau
She added however that while exercising the right of peaceful protest, it was our duty to ensure that no corresponding right of another is violated and no inconvenience was caused to anyone.
During the hearing, on Tuesday, Judge Lau had slammed the Public Prosecutor and Delhi police saying, “You are behaving as if Jama Masjid is Pakistan. Even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India.”
Azad, currently in judicial custody, claimed he has been falsely implicated as the allegations levelled against him in the FIR were not only "ill-founded", but also "improbable".
WHAT DID JUDGE LAU SAY ON TUESDAY?
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for Azad, pointed out that the FIR against Azad in the Daryaganj violence also mentioned the charges against him in the Saharanpur case. When the judge questioned the Public Prosecutor on those charges, he pleaded ignorance.
When the Public Prosecutor mentioned that Azad had put up a social media post about going to a ‘Dharna’, judge Lau remarked, “What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one's constitutional right to protest.”
Referring to the social posts mentioned by the Public Prosecutor, judge Lau noted, “None of these are unconstitutional”.
When the Public Prosecutor said there is drone footage of Azad making inflammatory comments, Pracha defended Azad saying he was only reading the Constitution.
To this, the judge asked, "Do you think Delhi police is so backward that it has no tools to record anything?”
"Show me anything or any law that prohibits such gathering... Where is the violence? Who says you cannot protest...have you read the Constitution. It is one's Constitutional right to protest." The court further observed that Azad, having a law degree, can also protest inside the courts.
When the Public Prosecutor sought to insist that Azad was inciting violence, Lau noted that perhaps Azad hadn’t been able to put his Ambedkarite points across fully, and that maybe he needed to do some further research. At the same time, she noted that all of us need to read more and that a lot of the time research was missing, while also clarifying that she had no doubt Azad is a well-read man.
Judge Lau then set the next date of hearing as 2 PM on Wednesday, 15 January, and instructed the Public Prosecutor to produce all related FIRs.
WHAT DID AZAD’S BAIL PLEA SAY?
The bail plea, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, alleged that no specific incriminating role has been attributed to Azad in the FIR, the contents of which were "vague" and based on "conjectures and surmises".
It said he was at all times demonstrably making efforts to maintain peace.
The other 15 people arrested in relation to the Daryaganj protests were granted bail by the court on 9 January.
Azad's plea also said that he was willing to fully cooperate with the investigation in the case and would not tamper with any evidence or influence any witnesses.
"The police have invoked boilerplate charges against the accused (Azad) without the same being founded on any allegation or fact... and have arrested him mechanically without following the due process of law which renders the initial and his continued detention completely illegal," it said.
The plea, filed through advocates OP Bharti and Jatin Bhatt, also argued that "Accused has been falsely implicated in the present case as the allegations levelled against him in the FIR are not only ill founded but also improbable and cannot bring home the charges mentioned in it... Further, the contents of the FIR are vague and based on conjectures and surmises."
The bail plea claimed that charging him with being a part of an unlawful assembly was "erroneous", as at no point of time during the alleged incident did the police authorities declare the peaceful protestors to be an unlawful assembly.
“No motive has been attributed to the accused in the present FIR, and all charges have been added mechanically... Charging the accused with being a part of an unlawful assembly is erroneous, as at no point of time during the alleged incident did the police authorities declare, announce, or proclaim the peaceful protestors to be an unlawful assembly, and nor were any warnings issued or announced in this regard.”Chandrasekhar Azad’s bail application
"It may also be considered that all the material witnesses of the incident are police officials, and therefore it is further unlikely that any witness tampering will be attempted by any individual, especially the accused in the present application," the bail application also said.
The court had earlier pulled up the Tihar Jail authorities for acting in a "callous manner" by flouting laws that safeguard a prisoner's right to medical treatment, and directed them to ensure that Azad was treated for polycythemia, a disorder of blood thickness, and taken to AIIMS, Delhi for the same.
It had said that despite knowing Azad's condition, he was given ordinary medical care and not the treatment needed to address his ailment.
(With inputs from PTI)
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