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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Jantar Mantar slogans: Court pulls up police for not questioning reporter seen ‘trying to incite’ people

Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil reserves order on Pinky Chaudhary’s anticipatory bail application, extends interim protection till Saturday

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: August 19, 2021 7:56:11 am
Ashwini Upadhyay, Ashwini Upadhyaya Jantar Mantar protests, Ashwini Upadhyaya arrested, Delhi police, anti-muslim slogans, Jantar Mantar sloganeering, Delhi news, Delhi latest news, Indian expressDelhi Police near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal/File)

A Delhi court has pulled up Delhi Police during the bail hearing of Pinky Chaudhary, president of the Hindu Raksha Dal being investigated in connection with anti-Muslim slogans raised at Jantar Mantar, for not questioning a YouTube news channel reporter “seen deliberately putting up leading questions” to “incite” people.

Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil reserved the order on Chaudhary’s anticipatory bail application and extended his interim protection till Saturday.

The judge’s observations came when advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who appeared on behalf of Chaudhary, argued that the investigating officer had improved his case by relying on an interview conducted by a YouTube news channel, Khabar India, which featured Chaudhary.

The investigating officer of the case had submitted a transcript of the 11-minute video featuring Chaudhary at Jantar Mantar giving an interview to a reporter from the channel.

ASJ Antil said, “Have you served notice to the reporter ? He is seen deliberately putting up leading questions. To incite them and agitate him and say something. He is trying to incite them. He must have been the first person to be called.”

The court also asked Jain whether the words uttered by Chaudhary in the video were indeed his client’s. Jain told the court, “My intention was not violence… The wordings are mine. If you see the whole video you will see I am innocent.”

Jain told the court that his client had not been named in the FIR and that he “has not raised any slogans”.

“The IO has tried to improve his case. He is looking at an interview given to a news channel. The police are going beyond the FIR,” Jain told the court.

Jain told the court that despite what has been allegedly said in the 11-minute video, a case under IPC section 153-(A) (promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) is not made out.

Jain relied on four Supreme Court judgements to state that unless the applicant’s speech incites violence, he will not be booked under section 153-A.

“I may have an extreme view, I may have a different view. If I am involved in vilification and inciting violence, then only I will come under the purview,” Jain told the court.

Additional Public Prosecutor S K Kain said: “If we read the section it is clear that it is promoting enmity between different religions”.

“Two groups of people are being incited by the accused. This is against the country,” the prosecutor told the court.

On August 13, a court had refused to grant bail to three men arrested for raising slogans at Jantar Mantar on August 8, observing that their “scathing remarks” were “undemocratic and uncalled for from a citizen of this country”.

On August 11, the court had granted bail to Supreme Court lawyer and former BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhayay, the organiser of the protest against “colonial-era laws”.

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