Hyderabad: Twitter bore witness to national outrage from politicians, activists, and lawyers after former BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay was granted bail by a Delhi Court in conjunction with the inflammatory and anti-Muslim slogans raised at Jantar Mantar a week ago.
Netizens voiced their anguish, at how easily Upadhyay was granted bail despite the incarceration of others like Umar Khalid, Munawar Farooqi remains unresolved. The anguish also stemmed from no word of condemnation coming from the Arvind Kejriwal-led State government.
The court held that Upadhyay could not be held under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code as aside from assertion, there wasn’t any record of him indulging in hate speech that promoted enmity between different groups.
Delhi Police opposed the bail application by stating that Upadhyay was a speaker at the event and his presence or the lack of the same during the sloganeering is being investigated. The Court however still granted Upadhyay bail with a fine of Rs. 50,000.
Siddharth Luthra, one of the advocates representing Upadhyay stated that if Upadhyay was not released, it would be tantamount to illegal incarceration. The statement while legally valid is also murky considering the fact that journalist Siddique Kappan who was attempting to report on the Hathras rape case, has been also booked under Section 153A of the IPC and the charge still holds.
The section in question states that whomsoever is “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of five years or be liable to fine.”
Trinamool Congress MP, Mahua Moitra took to Twitter to voice her anger against the court’s decision while also making a case for comedian Munawar Faruqi and jailed journalist Sidique Kappan.
“Muslim comedian spends 35 days in jail for a joke he was yet to crack. Muslim journo still in jail for a story he was yet to file. Yet BJP spokesperson gets bail under 24 hrs for organizing a hate speech event. Am I the only one who thinks this is insane?”
Call for genocide of Muslims and get bail in a day. This is how cheap Muslim lives are in India,” senior journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani wrote in a tweet.
Several other users on Twitter also voiced their anger over the BJP leaders bail. Here are some reactions:
A war of words also took place between AAP spokesperson Akshay Marathe and lyricist Hussain Haidry. While Haidry criticized Arvind Kejriwal and his governance for their silence on the issue, Marathe responded by saying that the former was probably influenced by parties that were involved in the violence in 1984 and 2002.
The Delhi Police is still “investigating” the matter and as of the moment, there aren’t any new developments.