Granting bail to Tauseef Ahmed Bhat, a J&K youth who was arrested on August 3 and charged with sedition by Chhattisgarh police for “liking and sharing” anti-India posts on Facebook, the High Court in Bilaspur has said the argument that he “had only liked the Facebook wall and has a right of freedom of expression cannot be appreciated” and “it cannot be ignored” that he has been “able to study and live a life of freedom in this country only”.
A graduate of Rungta College in Bhilai who worked with a mobile company, Bhat was arrested from a train in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh while on his way home to Kashmir following a complaint by members of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Justice Goutam Bhaduri granted bail to Bhat Tuesday, taking into account “that there was no serious law and order problem”, that Bhat was not the author of the Facebook pages and was not needed for further custodial interrogation.
“The argument that the applicant had only liked the Facebook wall and has a right of freedom of expression cannot be appreciated. It cannot be ignored that the applicant is able to study and live a life of freedom in this country only. It cannot also be ignored that applicant is caring his livelihood in this very soil and is working for gain and is born and brought up here only,” the order stated.
“Had there been any suppression, the applicant could not have procured his qualifications for livelihood and an easy life. This country has nourished and protected the applicant to become an able citizen to earn his livelihood. This soil and country has provided food for survival to applicant like… other citizens and, therefore, is often called a motherland,” it stated.
“It is but expected that if anyone abuses his parents on Facebook in such case, he would not have shared it with a liking. Consequently, the applicant has to introspect himself and act accordingly,” the order by Justice Bhaduri stated, adding “had there been any heavy breach of peace after the incident, the applicant would have gone to local police for help or the local administration would have served him”.
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