Updated: August 14, 2021 11:55:48 am
A DAY after their arrest for assaulting a man in Kanpur and forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, all three accused were released on bail by police under CrPC provisions.
The police said the three got bail as they were booked under IPC sections which had a jail term of fewer than seven years.
“As per court guidelines, we are not supposed to jail people booked under IPC sections with less than seven years of jail time.
Since the Sections invoked against them were with less than seven years of imprisonment, they were granted bail on Friday from the police station. The bail was granted to them under CrPC provisions. They have been released,” Kanpur Commissioner Asim Kumar Arun told The Indian Express.
Videos of 34-year-old e-rickshaw driver Afsar Ahmad being assaulted and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram, and his 5-year-old daughter pleading with the attackers to let him go, had gone viral on social media on Wednesday.
A day later, the police arrested three people, identified as Ajay Rajesh, Aman Gupta and Rahul Kumar, and said efforts were on to nab the others involved.
The FIR against the three along with 10 unidentified people was lodged under IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings).
Hours after the three were released on bail, Police Commissioner Arun in a statement Friday evening announced the arrest of three more people. The three were identified as Ankit Verma, Kesu Prasad and Shivam. “The investigation in the case is ongoing and were are making efforts to arrest the others too,” said the statement.
The Police Commissioner, however, told The Indian Express that if these three apply for bail like the others, they will be released as well under the same CrPC provisions. “We will give them bail as they have been booked under the same sections which have a jail term for less than seven years,” said Arun.
In a statement earlier in the day, Arun said, “A video had come to light from Kanpur Nagar where a man was being beaten up. In connection with the incident, I would like to give an update. The person was immediately rescued, and was brought to the police station and a case was lodged based on his complaint. Yesterday, as part of the probe, the three main accused who had beaten up the man were arrested. …We are making efforts to arrest the other accused too.”
In one of the videos of the videos of the incident, a group of men wearing saffron scarves are seen assaulting Ahmad and accusing him of raising anti-national slogans. Ahmad pleads repeatedly that he did not raise any such slogan, even as his sobbing daughter tries to free him.
Soon after the first arrests, Bajrang Dal members raising slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Matram” held a protest late Thursday night outside the local DCP’s office, demanding the release of the three accused. Senior police officers held talks with the Bajrang Dal men, following which the protest was called off.
Bajrang Dal Kanpur zone coordinator Ajeet Raj told The Indian Express on Friday that they held the protest as “Hindus were being targeted”.
“Our demand was that our Hindu brothers who were arrested should be released. We also told the police officers that the Hindu family, which was involved in the dispute, should not be harassed. We were assured that the three Hindu brothers who were arrested will be released,” he said.
The police had earlier said that the assault on Ahmad was linked to a dispute that took place a month ago between two families belonging to different communities who live in the slum where incident took place.
Minorities panel seeks report
The National Commission for Minorities has taken suo motu cognizance of the Kanpur assault and has sought a reply from the police details of action taken against the accused and the probe within a week. “…the Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of the news in the print media regarding assault of a person belonging to Muslim community in Kanpur and forcing him to chant religious slogans. The same has hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community,” said the letter released by the Commission.
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