The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant interim protection from arrest to Bhupinder Tomar, who has been accused of shouting inflammatory slogans at a rally in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on August 8, Bar and Bench reported.
Justice Mukta Gupta directed the police to file a status report, and posted the matter for hearing on September 13.
The slogans were allegedly raised at a rally less than 2 kilometres from Parliament on August 8. Videos of the event showed a group of people shouting slogans such as: “Jab mulle kaate jayenge, Ram-Ram chillayenge [Muslims will chant Ram-Ram when they are slaughtered].”
Tomar, who is also known as Pinky Chaudhary, is the president of a group called the Hindu Raksha Dal.
On Friday, Chaudhary’s lawyer, Vishnu Shankar Jain, argued that his client was not involved in the chanting of the slogans. He also pointed out that Bharatiya Janata Party leader and the organiser of the event, Ashwini Upadhyay, had already been granted bail.
The judge, however, said that Chaudhary could not insist on interim protection from arrest.
“Prima facie the FIR [first information report] suggests that slogans and speeches were given, let them [police] file a status report,” she said, according to Live Law.
The judge also sought to know the whereabouts of Chaudhary when the slogans were raised, and asked whether he was not present at the event at all, PTI reported.
Chaudhary’s lawyer said that his client was present at the event, but was not involved in the shouting of the slogans.
On August 21, a Delhi court had denied anticipatory bail to Chaudhary. The court had said that India is not a Taliban state and the rule of law is the “sacrosanct governing principle” in the country’s multicultural society.
The rally at Jantar Mantar was organised by the BJP leader as part of an initiative, which he called the “Bharat Jodo [Unite India] movement”. It ostensibly aimed to urge the authorities to put an end to “colonial-era laws” by establishing a uniform civil code.
The Delhi Police registered the FIR after videos of the alleged inflammatory slogans emerged. Upadhayay was arrested on August 10 along with other accused Deepak Singh, Vinod Sharma, Vineet Bajpai, Preet Singh and Deepak Kumar.
Upadhayay was granted bail a day later, despite the Delhi Police saying he was a speaker at the event.
The group was charged with promoting religious enmity and violating Covid-19 protocols.
Three others – Deepak Singh, Preet Singh and Vinod Sharma – are still in jail as they were denied bail by a metropolitan magistrate court on August 13.