A Delhi court on Friday granted bail to 12 people arrested during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Seemapuri area of the city last month, PTI reported. However, the bail was granted with a caveat.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar Malhotra granted the accused bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each and a surety of the same amount. Judge Malhotra also said that the accused shall appear at the Seemapuri Police Station on January 19, where the officer present shall try to “remove the doubts of the applicants in respect of CAA”, News18 reported.
The police had arrested several people in connection with the protests last month, and five more on January 6. Of those arrested on January 6, two were Bangladeshis. The court, on the same day, remanded all five persons to judicial custody for two weeks.
On Friday, judge Malhotra directed the accused to join the investigation, and not to act in such a way as may disturb public peace. “Right to protest is recognised as fundamental right in a democracy but this right of peaceful protest and open criticism of government policies do not extend to disturb the public order,” the judge said. “The Constitution of India also prohibits a person from making any statement that incites people to commit an offence.”
Those granted bail have been identified as Amjad Khan, Abdul Kalam, Rajaullah Khan, Nisar, Amiruddin, Suaib, Ahtmaad Ahmed, Waqar, Anis, Hazi Mehraj, Mohammad Shoib and Mohammad Amir.
Advocates Zakir Raja and Satya Prakash Gautam, appearing for some of the accused, told the judge that 10 out of the 12 had been in judicial custody since December 21, and some of them did not even take part in the protests. On the other hand, Shoaib and Amir had been sent to judicial custody on January 6.
On December 20, protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act turned violent in Daryaganj and Seemapuri localities of Delhi, with incidents of stone-pelting reported. In Seemapuri, an additional deputy commissioner of police suffered minor injuries, the police said.
The lawyers for the accused argued in court on Friday that Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to the punishment for attempt to murder, could not be invoked by the police, because the injuries suffered in the incident were minor. However, the Delhi Police said, perhaps contradicting their own earlier statement, that some police officers suffered serious injuries, and therefore, the accused were booked under Section 307.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.
At least 26 people died in last month’s protests against the citizenship law. Of these, 19 died in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka.