A court in Tripura on Tuesday granted bail to four members of socio-religious group Tahreek-Farooghe-Islam, two weeks after they were arrested and charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Qamar Ghani Usmani, the president of the organisation, and three other clerics, Ehsanul Haque Razvi, Qari Aasif and Mudassir, were booked for several criminal offences, including Section 13 of the UAPA. Section 13 of the Act deals with “punishment for unlawful activities”.
The four Muslim clerics had gone to Tripura to visit those affected by the communal violence that spread across the state last month. They were detained on November 4.
Speaking to Scroll.in from Tripura on Tuesday, Mehmood Pracha, who represented the four members of Tahreek-Farooghe-Islam, said that the magistrate had earlier refused to grant them bail.
“Today the four of them have been granted bail and they are all expected to be out of jail today itself,” Pracha said. “The idea was to scare them and others with the use of UAPA in the first place.”
The clerics had been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 503 (criminal intimidation) and 504 (intentional insult with the intent to provoke breach of the peace).
They were later charged under the UAPA.
On the way to the police station, Usmani had released a video informing people about his detention.
Tripura has witnessed a spell of violence since the Vishwa Hindu Parishad organised a rally on October 26 to protest against attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh during Durga Puja.
Delhi-based advocate for the People’s Union For Civil Liberties Mukesh and lawyer Ansar Indori of the National Confederation of Human Rights were among those who had also been charged under Section 13 of the UAPA after the violence. In a report, the two lawyers had said that at least 12 mosques, nine shops and three houses belonging to Muslims had been targeted during the violence.
As many as 102 Twitter accounts were also booked earlier this month under Section 13 of the UAPA for allegedly spreading distorted and objectionable content about the violence
Two journalists, Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha, were also arrested earlier this week on multiple charges, including spreading communal disharmony. On Monday, a Tripura court granted bail to both the journalists.