The Bombay High Court on Monday granted journalist Rana Ayyub protection from arrest for four weeks in a case registered against her for sharing a video of an assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad, reported Bar and Bench.
In his order, Justice PD Naik said that Ayyub can be granted protection from arrest to allow her to approach the appropriate court for relief in the case. “In the event of arrest, the applicant be released on PR [personal recognisance] bond of Rs 25,000 with one or more sureties,” the judge said.
A video of the assault on the elderly man has been circulating on social media since June 14. It shows 72-year-old Abdul Samad Saifi saying that he had been abducted in an autorickshaw by several men and locked up in a secluded house on June 5 in Ghaziabad district’s Loni area. Saifi alleged he was assaulted and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. He also said the assailants cut his beard and made him watch videos of other Muslims being attacked.
The Ghaziabad Police, which registered a case based on Saifi’s complaint, claimed on June 15 that there was no communal angle to the assault. The police also claimed that the tweets on the viral video were “an attempt to destroy communal harmony”.
Apart from Ayub, the police in Uttar Pradesh filed a case against against Twitter, news website The Wire, journalists Saba Naqvi, Mohammad Zubair, Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Masqoor Usmani and Sama Mohammad.
The first information report, lodged by a police officer, alleged that they had put out tweets with the intention of stoking communal unrest. It said that despite a clarification by the police ruling out any communal angle, the users did not delete their posts and Twitter took no action to remove them.
During Monday’s hearing, senior advocate Mihir Desai, appearing for Ayyub, told the court that the journalist had deleted her tweet after conflicting versions emerged about the incident.
Desai said that Ayyub recently had a spinal surgery and needed three to four weeks time to approach the jurisdictional courts in Uttar Pradesh, reported Live Law. Ayyub had approached the High Court on June 18.
The police have filed the FIR against Ayyub and others under sections 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 505 (statements conducting public mischief) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested nine people in connection with the assault. However, the accused have been granted interim bail by a court in Ghaziabad.