The Centre has decided to revoke the National Security Act (NSA) against Bajrang Dal leader Vivek Premi, lodged in jail since June, 2015 for allegedly parading a Muslim man through a market in Shamli after blackening his face and beating him. The decision by the government paves the way for Premi’s release once he applies for bail in other cases lodged against him.
The order revoking the NSA was conveyed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Uttar Pradesh Secretary (Home) on December 31 via radiogram. Copies of the order were sent to the Shamli district magistrate, Premi, and the superintendent of Muzaffarnagar District Jail, where he is lodged.
The district administration had invoked NSA against Premi, a Bajrang Dal district convener, alleging that his actions led to communal tension in the city. A video purportedly showing Premi beating up the man had gone viral on social media.
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Premi and his associates claimed they had caught Mohammad Riyaz, 42, carrying a calf that was allegedly stolen from a cow shed in Adarsh Mandi area on June 25 last year. They alleged Riyaz was taking the calf to slaughter. Riyaz was later handed over to police and sent to jail by the court on charges of theft and under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
An FIR was lodged against Premi and five other Bajrang Dal activists, four days after Riyaz was sent to jail.
On June 30, Premi was arrested on charges of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion. The other accused were also arrested.
On July 10, the Shamli district administration invoked NSA against Premi, which was approved by the state government on July 16. The UP Advisory Board, which takes the final call on confirmation or removal of NSA, gave its approval on August 21.
Premi then sent a representation to the MHA, requesting that his detention under NSA be revoked. Premi’s father Manoj confirmed they had written to the Centre against the state government’s decision. “Since NSA has been revoked, we are moving court to seek bail,” said Manoj.
Shamli District Magistrate O P Verma said, “The MHA sent a radiogram revoking the NSA against Premi. I issued direction to jail authorities two days ago for his release.”
In its order, accessed by The Indian Express, the MHA states: “After careful consideration of the representation, the Central government is pleased to revoke under section 14 (1) of the National Security Act, 1980. The detenu may be released forthwith from the jail unless he is required to be kept in jail for any other case. He may be tried in the cases registered under the normal law of the land and a watch may be kept on his activities.”
The order, marked “urgent”, also said the Centre has to be informed about the follow-up action taken by the district administration.