The main accused in the Junaid Khan lynching case was granted interim bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday. With the latest order, all the accused in the case are now out on bail.
Naresh Kumar, the accused, has been in judicial custody since July 8, 2017. According to the order passed by Justice Daya Chaudhary, the interim bail has been granted only in view of the stay ordered by the Supreme Court on the proceedings of the case before the trial court. His lawyer had argued that the accused has remained in jail for more than one year and should be granted an interim bail.
On June 7, a Sessions Court in Faridabad had dismissed the bail plea of Naresh while stating that the allegations against him are of serious nature and “there is every possibility for pressurising of the prosecution witnesses” in case he is granted bail.
“The accused cannot take the ground of parity for the reason that he has been shown as the main accused and the causing of injuries with sharp edge weapon have been attributed to the present accused,” Additional Sessions Judge Narendra Sharma had said in his order.
The judge in the order had also mentioned that he has found substance in the prosecution argument that mere long custody does not make the accused entitled to bail.
While granting bail to another accused in the case on April 17 this year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stated that the initial dispute between the victims and the accused was “only regarding the seat sharing and abuses in the name of castes and nothing more”.
15-year-old Junaid, his brother and two cousins were attacked in June 2017 on a Mathura-bound train. While the teenager was stabbed to death during the attack, it is alleged that communal slurs were also hurled at them.
Naresh Kumar is facing charges under Sections 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 323 voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 341 (wrongful restraint), 301 (culpable homicide), 302 (murder) and other provisions of IPC before the trial court.
This was the second bail plea of accused Naresh before the trial court. He had earlier withdrawn his first bail plea in April. Five other accused in the case have already been granted bail in the case.