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HC maintains arrest of Gujarati youth protesting Prophet’s toons | India News


AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court expressed concern about people’s right to protest and suspended until January 21 the arrest of Muslim youths for inciting religious enmity between two communities. The youth had been protesting against France and its president, Emmanuel Macron, for refusing to condemn the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Judge Paresh Upadhyay issued a notice to the state government and also suspended the police investigation until the next hearing on January 21.
The six young men, including a minor, booked by the police in the city of Sojitra, Anand district, had gone to court seeking the dismissal of the charges against them for pasting posters of the French president and drawing the French flag on the public highway towards the end of October. The police had invoked Section 153A of the IPC against youth at a later stage.
The petitioners’ defender, Vishal Anandjiwala, argued in court that posting posters criticizing a distant country like France would certainly not invite any crime under Section 153A of the IPC.
Police had also invoked various sections of the Disaster Management Act against defendants for protesting amid the Covid-19 shutdown. Subsequently, the police petitioned a local court to remove Section 54 of the DM Act, but retained Sections 269 (illegal or negligent spread of infection) and 270 (malignant spread of infection) of the IPC.

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