A court in Mysuru on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Nalini Balakumar and another student who were arrested for protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, reported Bar and Bench. Balakumar was charged with sedition for holding a placard that read “Free Kashmir” during an anti-CAA protest at Mysore University.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Jerald Rudolph Mendonca said the alleged offence was not exclusively punishable with death or imprisonment for life. The court added that Balakumar has no criminal background or any connection with any banned outfit. The petitioner had immediately accepted that she had displayed the placard and had explained her stand in the matter, said the court, adding that she was co-operating with the investigation also.
On the charges of sedition levied against Balakumar, the court said: “This court is of the firm view that at this stage any person including this court cannot form an opinion or declare whether the Petitioner has committed the offence of sedition or not.”
Baburaj, a member of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties who appeared for Balakumar, told The News Minute that bail has been granted on eight conditions. The two have been asked to submit a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each and issue a surety. As a bail condition, they have been asked not to organise any protest without following the rules and to inform the police of the same. Balakumar has also been asked to submit her passport and report to the police station every 15 days.
Balakumar was part of a student protest on January 8 against the mob attack at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University earlier this month. The protest was organised by Dalit Student Organization and Mysore University Research Students Association in the University of Mysore. After local media published photographs and videos of Balakumar with the ‘Free Kashmir’ placard, a police case was filed against her and the organiser of the protests. Later, Balakumar said she was only trying to highlight the internet shutdown imposed in Kashmir.