A Delhi court on Friday dismissed the bail application of Preet Singh, one of the organisers of a rally in the Capital where inflammatory slogans against Muslims were shouted, Bar and Bench reported.
The court said that Singh cannot absolve himself of all responsibility for the “incendiary content” in the speeches at the rally, which was held at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
The slogans were shouted 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].”
Singh has been accused of promoting enmity between different groups and inciting people against a particular religion.
Judge Anil Antil remarked that although the Constitution grants people the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, they are to be exercised with reasonable restrictions, according to Bar and Bench.
“It is apposite to mention that the applicant (Singh) not only voluntarily organised the event but also actively participated and provided support to the views and contents of inflammatory speeches, which were being made by the participants / accused persons at that time, by acknowledging and endorsing via gestures and clapping intermittently,” the judge said.
Singh’s complicity in the alleged offences was prima facie evident, the court said.
The court said that the accused, given his stature, should have exercised his authority and stopped people at the rally from shouting inflammatory slogans.
The judge also remarked that the rally was organised at Jantar Mantar although the Delhi Police had refused permission for it, according to PTI. He also said that Covid-19 protocols were completely disregarded at the event.
Further, the court noted that the anticipatory bail application of another accused, Bhupinder Tomar alias Pinky Chaudhary, has also been dismissed.
On August 21, a Delhi court had denied anticipatory bail to Chaudhary, who has been accused of shouting inflammatory slogans at the event. 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.
On Friday, the Delhi High Court also refused to grant interim protection from arrest to Chaudhary.
Jantar Mantar rally
The rally at Jantar Mantar was organised by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay 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 inflammatory slogans emerged. Upadhayay was arrested on August 10 along with the other accused.
A Delhi court, however, granted bail to Upadhyay a day later.