July 2, 2021 5:19:49 am
A Delhi court has granted interim protection from arrest to a man from Punjab who hoisted a religious flag at the Red Fort during the farmers’ protest rally on the Republic Day this year. Additional Sessions Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen granted protection to Jugraj Singh from any coercive action till July 20 and directed him to join the investigation.
“Interim protection granted to accused subject to the condition that the accused shall join investigation in the case on July 8, July 11, and July 15 and as and when called upon by the investigating officer,” the judge said in an order passed on June 30.
Fearing arrest, Jugraj had moved Delhi’s Tis Hazari court seeking anticipatory bail in two cases related to the violence.
He had climbed one of the flagpoles on the rampart at the Red Fort, a restricted area of the protected site, and hoisted Nishan Sahib, a religious flag of Sikh community.
Jugra, who was honoured by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Dal Khalsa at Golden Temple on Thursday, said, “There was no conspiracy (behind hoisting the Nihasn Sahib). I was part of the protesters. I saw a protester trying to climb the flagpole, but in vain. I thought, I can hoist the flag”.
He also sought to clarify that he was “not attached to any organisation”.
In Delhi court, opposing his pre-arrest bail plea, the Delhi Police said, “The Red Fort is a National heritage site and by hoisting the Nishan Sahib humiliation and embarrassment has been caused to the nation at Red Fort on Republic Day”.
The police said he was the key executor of a conspiracy hatched to convert Red Fort into a protest site and was seen in video footage climbing the flagpole.
“The accused-applicant is alleged to be present (at the site) and had disregarded the order specifying the route for the tractor rally on the Republic Day…he had (also) obstructed policemen in the due discharge of their duties,” the police contended.
The counsel appearing for Jugra, however, argued that he only followed his farmer colleagues and was not aware of the route prescribed by the Delhi Police. “The case has been projected in such a way that simple events are made to appear in serious and aggravated form. The applicant is a farmer and had joined farmers’ protest at Singhu border…he followed his fellow farmers and was under impression that they were following route as per law. Being a villager, he just followed them. He has not been in any criminal conspiracy with anybody to commit any crime nor caused any assault and therefore no culpability of any offence can be attached to him. He was not carrying any weapon nor any
offence of any kind has been committed by him”.
His counsel said, “It is alleged that he was seen climbing the flagpole and hoisting Nishan Sahib. It is an admitted fact that the said flag post was an empty flag post where the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India hoists national flag every year on August 15…there was no national flag, then no offence has been committed. It is not understandable as to how hoisting Nishan Sahib has caused embarrassment to the people of this country”.
After hearing the arguments, the judge, in the bail order, said “The investigating agency has chosen to announce reward for his arrest does not in any manner affect the gravity of the nature of accusations per se, and hence based upon the nature of accusations and the material available against the accused-applicant till date, the accused-applicant would be entitled to the protection….and accordingly interim protection is being granted till the next date of hearing”.
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