Communal sloganeering at Jantar Mantar: Court denies bail to three, says remarks undemocratic

New Delhi: A Delhi court has denied bail to three persons arrested in connection with the communal slogans allegedly raised during a protest at the Jantar Mantar here, saying one of them can be seen making scathing and undemocratic remarks.

The judge noted that while accused Deepak Singh was seen making the remarks which were uncalled for from a citizen of this country where principles like secularism hold the value of basic feature imbibed in the Constitution , accused Preet Singh was seen with him in the rally and accused Vinod Sharma was also present at the venue at the time of the alleged offence.

A video allegedly showing anti-Muslim slogans being raised during a protest at Jantar Mantar here was widely circulated on social media, following which the Delhi Police registered a case on Monday.

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Metropolitan Magistrate Udbhav Kumar Jain refused to release the accused persons on bail on parity with co-accused and former BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay, who was granted bail on Wednesday, saying that they stood on a different footing from him.

In one of the clippings, accused, as identified by the IO (investigating officer) in the video clipping, can be seen making scathing remarks which are undemocratic and uncalled for from a citizen of this country where principles like secularism hold the value of basic feature imbibed in the Constitution, the judge said in the order passed on Thursday.

The judge saw the alleged video clippings and played some part of it in open court also.

He said that freedom to express oneself was indeed allowed to be enjoyed by the citizens to the fullest possible extent, yet with every right there was a corresponding duty attached.

The principle behind Section 153A IPC is to preserve religious/ communal harmony and it is the duty of every citizen that while he enjoys his right to express himself, he preserves religious harmony. This indeed is the positive aspect of secularism, he said.

The court said it could not check the veracity of those video clippings at present, which was a matter of appreciation of evidence to be done at later stage.

Besides, there is no time stamp available at this stage on these video clippings for which proper investigation has to be done. This court cannot interfere with the ongoing investigation, the judge said.

The accused persons were represented by advocate Ashwani Dubey.

The court had on Aug 11 granted bail to Upadhyay, saying there was nothing on record to show that the slogans were raised on his behest, or that he was present at the spot at the time of the offence.

Hundreds of people had attended the protest organised by ‘Bharat Jodo Aandolan’ at Jantar Mantar on Sunday.

Shipra Srivastava, media in-charge of Bharat Jodo Aandolan, had said the protest was held under the leadership of Upadhyay.

However, she denied any links to those who raised anti-Muslim slogans.

Upadhyay too denied any involvement in the anti-Muslim slogan shouting incident.

The video allegedly shows a group of people shouting inflammatory slogans and threatening Muslims during the protest at Jantar Mantar.

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