Demanding a “Hindu rashtra” or Hindu nation does not mean promoting enmity between religious communities, an accused in the Jantar Mantar hate slogans case claimed before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, Live Law reported.
The case pertains to a rally held in Delhi on August 8, where the participants had shouted slogans calling for Muslims to be killed. The event was organised by former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay.
Upadhyay was among the nine people arrested in connection with the event. He is the only one out on bail.
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court heard the bail petition of Preet Singh, who was reportedly the co-organiser of the rally, according to Live Law. In August, a sessions court had refused to grant him bail, saying that he actively participated in shouting slogans at the event along with his associates.
Singh refuted the accusations against him. “I was there [at the rally] in the morning,” he told the Delhi High Court. “Slogans were raised in the evening. I was not there then.”
Singh denied that the event had been organised to push for a Hindu nation. Instead, the purpose of the rally was to demand a uniform civil code, he claimed.
Nevertheless, Singh spoke to the media about the “Hindu Rashtra” demand, his lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain told the Delhi High Court, according to PTI.
“If the court holds that the demand [for a Hindu country] comes under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code [promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth], I will not press my bail application,” Jain said on Singh’s behalf.
The lawyer added: “Nothing is said by my client which attracts Section 153A IPC.”
The prosecution opposed Singh’s bail petition, arguing that videos from the event showed him and other accused persons shouting slogans, according to Live Law.
The prosecution’s lawyer Tarang Srivastava said: “My submission is that in the interest of society, at least till the time investigation is ongoing and even after that, for social fabric of the society, bail may not be granted.”
After hearing arguments from both the sides, the court reserved its order on Singh’s bail.