HC Grants Bail to Jama’at Spokesperson  

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday granted bail to two persons, including spokesperson of Jama’at-e-Islami Zahid Ali Lone, arrested by police on August 4 for allegedly raising slogans, “inciting youth to indulge in rioting and join militant ranks”.

A single of Justice M K Hanjura granted bail to Zahid Ali Lone and another person, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, observing that “mere inducement and not incitement, which is the main ingredient of Section 13 UAP Act, as stated in the FIR, prima-facie justifies the grant of bail” in favour of the duo.

The court subsequently directed release of Farooq and Zahid, both lodged in district jail Anatnag, on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 60,000 and surety of like-amount each to the satisfaction of the Principal District and Sessions, Judge Kulgam. 

The court also put two riders on bail—the duo will join the investigation as and when required by the police and will not tamper with the evidence in any manner.

“The democratic depth and breadth of India is its beauty. Freedom of speech and expression is the soul of our democratic and secular fabric which is a dream for a great number of people living on this planet. The might of our great India is not so weak that by using a few non productive and ego satisfying slogans the people will be scared even by a grain of fear that their levies will be put at a peril,” the court observed, adding, “ours is a pluralist, multilingual, multi-linguistic and a heterogeneous country where the rights that are fundamental in nature flow to all on the same platter. The citizens of India believe in cohesiveness and not disruption except for some minor aberrations.”

Farooq and Zahid, who is an advocate, had approached the High Court for bail in the case (FIR 69/2017, under section 153 RPC and 13 Unlawful Activities Act), registered at police station D H Pora Kulgam for the incident of 2 August this year when burial of one of the militants, who died in an encounter with government forces in the area, was taking place. 

During the course of the investigation, the duo had moved an application for bail before Principal, District and Sessions Judge Kulgam who rejected it on August 19.  Aggrieved by it, they filed applications before High Court, seeking bail. 

Advocate Salih Pirzada, representing them, submitted that the offence under Section 153 RPC was not made out in the instant case as the section presupposes that the accused should do something illegal and by committing such illegal act, they must have given malignant or wanton provocation likely to incite rioting. 

“Since the allegations are shown to fall within the ambit and scope of Section 153 RPC, therefore, resort cannot be taken simultaneously for implicating them in any cognate or separate offence,” he argued.  

He also pleaded that in the absence of such a narration in the FIR or electronic record preserving such speech, there was no evidence to implicate them for any unlawful activity. 

On behalf of the government, Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat, Deputy Advocate General had opposed grant of bail to them, contending that they were involved in “heinous offence.” 

“The offences under Section 153 RC and 13 ULA (P) Act, stand established against them,” he added.  

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