A man accused of making a provocative speech at a mahapanchayat in Haryana’s Pataudi town last month has been granted bail by a court, Bar and Bench reported on Monday. He was arrested in July and sent to judicial custody.
He is the same man who shot at anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors near Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University last year. He was reportedly 17 years old at that time so his identity has been withheld.
Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Sageer had denied him bail in July, saying that “such hate-mongers cannot walk freely without fear”. “It is time to give a strong message to such anti-social elements who distribute hatred based on religion etc by way of hate speech that the rule of law still prevails,” the court had said.
The accused challenged this order and the additional district and sessions judge granted him bail.
The man was charged for offences under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between religions) and 295A (hurting religious sentiments) of the Indian Penal Code.
The communally-charged mahapanchayat where the man made the speech was reportedly held to discuss the need for a population control law and “love jihad”. The term is a pejorative word coined by the right-wing groups to push the conspiracy theory that Muslim men charm Hindu women into marrying them with the sole purpose of converting them to Islam.
In purported videos of his speech at the mahapanchayat, the man said: “When mullahs [a pejorative term for Muslims] are stabbed, they will scream the name of Ram.”
He also issued a threat to those with a “terrorist mindset”. “If I can travel 100 kilometres to Jamia in support of the CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act], then Pataudi is not very far,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd.