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“Protest is a right, not terror”: HC bail 3 main Delhi riots accused | India News


NEW DELHI: Protesting without arms is a fundamental right and not a “terrorist activity,” said the Delhi High Court, which granted bail to three university students jailed under strict anti-terrorism provisions in connection with the unrest in northeastern United States. Delhi last year. .
A bench in the division of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani did not beat around the bush on three separate bail warrants, saying it was “compelled to say that it appears that in its anxiety to suppress dissent and in morbid fear that things may get out of hand. On the other hand, the state has blurred the line between the constitutionally guaranteed ‘right to protest’ and ‘terrorist activity’ ”.
The court warned that “if this mentality gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy, which would be in danger” and highlighted the lack of evidence to support the Delhi police charges under the UAPA anti-terrorism law against JNU Devangana students. Kalita and Natasha Narwal and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha who were conspirators and instigators of last year’s riots.

"Protest is a right, not terror": HC bail 3 main Delhi riots accused | India News

It noted that the “charge sheet and the material included in it” showed that “prima facie, the allegations made against the appellant are not even based on the material on which they are based.”
The court said that when the court determines that an act of omission is adequately addressed and dealt with by the ordinary criminal law of the country, it should not tolerate a state agency “weeping wolf.”

Time view

The right to protest peacefully is a fundamental feature of any democracy and a constitutional right in India. The high court has rightly reminded us of this basic principle. Police, who often launch outrageous accusations against protesters, should pay attention to this.

Having given our eager consideration to this aspect of the “probability” of threat and terror, we are of the opinion that the foundations of our nation are on a more secure foundation than it is likely to be shaken (sic) by protest, however cruel. , organized by a tribe of university students or others, operating as a coordinating committee from the confines of a university located in the heart of Delhi, ”the bank said.
“We fear that, in our opinion, stripped of the superfluous verbiage, hyperbole, and the extensive inferences drawn from them by the prosecution, the factual allegations made against the appellant do not reveal prima facie the commission of any offense under Sections 15, 17 and / or 18 of the UAPA ”, said the bench. When ordering the immediate release of the three students, the HC reminded the government that “the right to protest is a fundamental right that derives from the constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble peacefully and without arms enshrined in article 19 (1) (b) of our Constitution. “And he pointed out that” surely the right to protest is not prohibited and cannot be classified as a ‘terrorist act’ in the sense of the UAPA, unless, of course, the ingredients of the crimes provided for in articles 15, 17 and / or 18 of the UAPA are clearly discernible from the factual allegations contained in the charge sheet and the material presented ”.
In Kalita’s case, the court said that, as a member of certain women’s rights organizations and other groups, she participated and helped organize protests against the CAA and the NRC in Delhi. However, he found absolutely nothing on the charge sheet by way of a specific indictment showing the possible commission of a “terrorist act” or an act of “fundraising” to commit a terrorist act and an act of “conspiracy” to commit or a “Preparatory Act” to commit a terrorist act to attract UAPA provisions. The HC’s findings were along similar lines in the order granting bail to Narwal and Tanha. Regarding the accusations of organizing roadblocks, etc., the HC highlighted that “delivering inflammatory speeches, organizing chakka talks and similar actions are not uncommon when there is widespread opposition to government or parliamentary actions.”
The court stressed that although the charge sheet was filed on September 16, 2020, there are 740 prosecution witnesses and the trial has not yet started. “Should this court wait until the appellant (Tanha) has languished in prison long enough to be able to see that it will be impossible to complete the deposition of 740 prosecution witnesses in the foreseeable future, especially in light of the prevalence of pandemic when all the proceedings in the trial are effectively stalled? Should this court wait until the appellant’s right to a speedy trial guaranteed by article 21 of the Constitution is totally and completely denied before intervening and realizing such a violation? “It was asked, in response to the accusation, to object to the bail.

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