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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Hate speech a fashion nowadays, says Gurgaon court while denying bail to Jamia shooter

Court says people who create disharmony more harmful than the pandemic

Written by Sakshi Dayal | Gurgaon |
Updated: July 17, 2021 1:05:52 am
The teenager had opened fire at anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia on January 30 last year (Photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

Four days after the teenage Jamia shooter was arrested for an allegedly provocative speech he made at a mahapanchayat in Pataudi in Haryana on July 4, a local court on Thursday rejected his application for bail, saying “hate speech” has become a “fashion” and that his release would send out the message that “this type of acts are acceptable in the society”.

Last year, the teenager, then 17, had opened fire at anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia.

Saying the “conscience of the court” is “utterly shocked” by the video of the teenager’s speech at Pataudi, Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Sageer said in his order on Thursday, “Hate speech based on religion or caste has become fashion nowadays. The police also seems to be helpless (in) dealing with such incidents. These kinds of activities are actually disturbing the secular fabric of our country and killing the spirit of the Constitution of India.”

The court said the “common man is under constant threat of violence in the name of religion, caste, etc” and the Pataudi incident “cannot be seen only with respect of a young man’s religious intolerance; rather it is far more serious and having dangerous hidden consequences. If such kind of persons are allowed to move freely and to indulge in such kinds of activities, the very existence of communal harmony may be disturbed and that will give a wrong message that this type of acts are acceptable in the society”.

Comparing the threat posed by people who “create disharmony” to the pandemic, the order states that the former is more harmful to the country since the pandemic “will take life of any person without seeing the religion or caste” whereas communal violence caused by hate speeches have the potential to lead to loss of “lots of innocent lives”.

“The video produced by the police in this case is raising a very vital question: ‘Does our society need to tackle the in-discriminative force of pandemic of Covid-19 first or these kind of persons, who are filled with so much hatred that if given a chance they would organise a mass murderer mob to kill innocents lives based on their own religious hatred’,” states the order.

Taking note of the criminal antecedents of the accused, the court said, “Enlarging the accused on bail despite his heinous crime which amounts to divide the peaceful society on the basis of religion or caste would give a wrong message to the divisive forces. However, restraining the accused behind the bars will send a strong message against the divisive forces.”

While rejecting the bail application, the Judicial Magistrate said that if the accused is released, “there is every possibility that a law and order situation may arise and that the accused person may again indulge in such unconstitutional and illegal activities and actually disturb the communal harmony and peace of the society.”

“At this juncture, right of the accused of his personal liberty cannot be preferred against the right of the society [to live in] in peaceful communal harmony and balance lies in favour of the later,” states the order.

Arguing for the teenager, his counsel said he has been “falsely implicated” and that the video recording of the mahapanchayat is “false and fabricated”.

After the Jamia incident of January 30, the accused was arrested and sent to a correctional home by the Juvenile Justice Board, from where he was released a few months later.

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