Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul Islam Khan on Friday approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with a first information report lodged against him on charges of sedition, PTI reported. The complainant has alleged that Khan, on April 28, had shared a post on social media which was “provocative”. In the post, the chairperson had thanked Kuwait for “standing with Indian Muslims” in context of the large-scale communal violence in North East Delhi.
Khan sought anticipatory bail citing that he is a public servant and that he suffers from a heart disease and hypertension, which makes him susceptible to the coronavirus. “In these circumstances there is an urgent need to grant him protection from arrest and coercive action in a frivolous and untenable case, in order to safeguard his liberty as the failure to do so will have irreversible consequences on his right to life,” the petition filed through advocates Vrinda Grover, Ratna Appnender and Soutik Banerjee said.
The petition also added that Khan has committed no offence and that the FIR was registered against him with an intention to harass and intimidate. “The FIR is misconceived, being made on a misrepresentation of facts and an erroneous, untenable reading of the law,” it said.
The minorities panel chief said his social media post was falsely reported, distorted and sensationalised out of context by certain sections of the media to embarrass him. “Alarmed that his social media post was being maliciously and knowingly distorted and false meanings and motives attributed to his words, the petitioner [Khan] responded through his social media posts dated April 29, 2020, and further on May 1, 2020, the petitioner elaborated on his original tweet and clarified the distortions and misrepresentations by sections of the media,” the plea said.
Despite the clarifications, the plea said, a “communal and politically motivated misinformation campaign was orchestrated” against Khan to undermine the work done by him over 20 years.
On Wednesday, the Delhi Police visited Khan’s residence to interrogate him. The petition said that the police did not give any written notice to him as mandated under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The police also did not conduct any investigation or examine his laptop despite spending around two hours at his residence, the petition added.
Advocate Vrinda Grover said the petition was mentioned for an urgent hearing and has been allowed to be listed on May 12.