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Bail plea of Azad: Judge slams cops, upholds ‘right to protest’

Bail plea of Azad: Judge slams cops, upholds ‘right to protest’
Courtesy "twitter/thecaravanindia"

New Delhi: Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court slammed Delhi cops over the arrest of Bhim Army Chief, Chandrashekhar Azad. Additional sessions judge Kamini Lau said that Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan where agitations are not allowed.

Peaceful protests allowed: Judge

“Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad is a budding politician. What is wrong with protests? I have seen many people and many cases where protests happened even outside Parliament. People can carry out peaceful protests anywhere,” Lau said.

The court also pulled up the Delhi police for failing to show any evidence against Azad, who was arrested in a case related to anti-CAA protests in old Delhi’s Darya Ganj area in December last year.

Lau asked the investigating officer in the case to put on record all the evidence which showed that Azad was giving “incriminatory” speeches at Jama Masjid, and any law which showed that the gathering there was unconstitutional.

The court has adjourned the hearing till 15th January so that the state can produce all the FIRs registered against Azad in Saharanpur.

Drone images of the gathering

During the hearing, police told the court they have only drone images of the gathering as evidence and no other recording.

To this, ASJ Kamini Lau said, “Do you think Delhi Police is so backward that it has no tools to record anything?”

Have you read constitution: Judge

“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. You are behaving as if Jama Masjid was Pakistan and even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India. Which law mentions that there is a prohibition on protest in front of any religious place,” she said.

“Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan where we are not allowed to protest. Peaceful protests take place in Pakistan as well. Which law mentions that there is a prohibition on protest in front of any religious place,” she added.

Azad’s Ambedkarite philosophy

The court observed that Azad’s Ambedkarite philosophy probably required more research.

“Azad is probably an Ambedkarite. Ambedkar was closer to the Muslims, Sikhs and basically the repressed class of the society… He was a rebel of his own kind. Probably, Azad has a vague idea of what he wants to say. But probably not able to put it across. If you take up an issue, you do out research. And that is missing, ” it said.

Azad filed the bail plea through advocate Mehmood Pracha, claiming that there was no evidence against him and his arrest was illegal.

Azad was arrested on December 21 last year after he led a march from Jama Masjid against the Citizenship Amendment Act. He was sent to judicial custody till January 18 at Tihar jail.

The Bhim Army chief was charged with rioting, unlawful assembly and inciting the mob to indulge in violence after vandalism in Delhi’s Darya Ganj area.

Parliament

The judge also said that protests are taking place as things which have to be said inside Parliament were ‘not said’.

Mehmood Pracha alleged that the government wants to show that only Muslims are protesting against CAA. This is the reason Azad was arrested after he participated in the protest and said that CAA and NRC are against Dalits, tribals and poor, Pracha added.

After the judgment, Prashant Bhushan, activist and lawyer of the Supreme Court tweeted the observation of the judge.

The next hearing of the bail plea is scheduled to be held on 15th January 2020.

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