BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, held in connection with anti-Muslim sloganeering at rally, secures bail

A rally at Jantar Mantar set up by Ashwini Upadhyay on Tuesday saw some people calling for killing of Muslims in India, following which six people including Upadhyay were arrested

Screengrab of a video of the rally
Screengrab of a video of the rally

NH Web Desk

A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to advocate Ashwini Upadhyay arrested in connection with anti-Muslim speeches made at Jantar Mantar on August 8.

Metropolitan Magistrate Udbhav Kumar Jain granted the relief to Upadhyay who was remanded to judicial custody on Tuesday, Bar & Bench reported.

Defending Upadhyay, Supreme Court Bar Association president and Senior Advocate Vikas Singh had argued that he would be the last person to defend those who make such speeches.

"I will be last person to defend someone making such a hate speech. The country will get completely divided if we allow such speeches," Singh said.

He was one of four Senior Advocates to represent Upadhyay in the case. The others were Sidharth Luthra, Pradeep Rai and Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Singh told the Court, "We are all appearing not only because [he is a] respected advocate, this kind of arrest can't be is clear from the video that it is at 5pm...Police can’t indiscriminately arrest anybody when there is no plausible suspicion also. Suppose allegation was that it was in his presence, I wouldn’t have defended him..."

Singh pointed out that it was clear that the videos, which went viral, were of 5 pm as one could see that it had already rained.

Luthra added that a person who left the spot couldn't be said to have a common intention with people who subsequently committed the alleged offences. "If a man has left the spot, you can’t claim a common intention against him. The CDR is with the police. They should have verified if he had left the spot before the untoward incident before arresting him," he stressed.

Public Prosecutor Shikher countered, "We have to see gravity of the offence, date, pandemic time...At this time you are gathering so many people...You see the area...Parliament Session was going on..."

He went on to add, "It was an unlawful assembly.. All these offences were committed. Section 149 is involved. Even if in his presence, somebody has given hate speech..."

According to the prosecutor, it was to be prima facie seen whether the accused was present at the relevant time and if the hate speech was made on behalf of the accused. "He didn’t bother to bring this to the notice of police agencies. No bona fide there also..," he argued.

"His version is that he has left. But it is a matter of investigation. There is no evidence to that affect. The case is at a nascent stage, and it has to be investigated if there is a nexus.. Aiding hai ki nahi hai (if there is aiding)...," the prosecutor submitted.

On Tuesday, Upadhyay and five others were arrested by Delhi Police in relation to the anti-Muslim sloganeering that took place at his rally “against colonial-era laws” in the country held on August 8.

The rally set up by Upadhyay saw hundreds of people in attendance calling for a march under the ‘Bharat Jodo Movement’. However, a video had later surfaced with a few people calling for killing of Muslims in India.

That same day, Upadhyay was arrested and remanded to two days of judicial custody, following which he sought bail.

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