'Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan': Court slams Delhi Police says protests can be held anywhere

Updated: Jan 14, 2020, 15:39 IST | ANI | New Delhi

During the hearing, police told the court they have only drone images of the gathering as evidence and no other recording

A protester displays a placard during a demonstration against India's new citizenship law outside the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi. Picture/AFP
A protester displays a placard during a demonstration against India's new citizenship law outside the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi. Picture/AFP

Delhi's Tis Hazari Court on Tuesday slammed the Delhi Police while hearing the bail plea of Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad and ruled that people can carry out peaceful protests anywhere.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said that protests happened even outside the Parliament and added that Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan where agitations are not allowed.

"Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad is a budding politician. What is wrong with protests? I have seen many people and many cases where protests happened even outside Parliament. People can carry out peaceful protests anywhere," Lau said.

The court also pulled up the Delhi police for failing to show any evidence against Azad, who was arrested in a case related to anti-CAA protests in old Delhi's Darya Ganj area in December last year.

Lau asked the investigating officer in the case to put on record all the evidence which showed that Azad was giving "incriminatory" speeches at Jama Masjid, and any law which showed that the gathering there was unconstitutional.

The court has adjourned the hearing till tomorrow so that the state can produce all the FIRs registered against Azad in Saharanpur.

During the hearing, police told the court they have only drone images of the gathering as evidence and no other recording.

To this, ASJ Kamini Lau said, "Do you think Delhi Police is so backward that it has no tools to record anything?"

"Show me anything or any law that prohibits such gathering... Where is the violence? Who says you cannot protest... Have you read the Constitution? It is one's Constitutional right to protest. You are behaving as if Jama Masjid was Pakistan and even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India. Which law mentions that there is a prohibition on protest in front of any religious place," she said.

"Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan where we are not allowed to protest. Peaceful protests take place in Pakistan as well. Which law mentions that there is a prohibition on protest in front of any religious place," she added.

The court observed that Azad's Ambedkarite philosophy probably required more research.

"Azad is probably an Ambedkarite. Ambedkar was closer to the Muslims, Sikhs and basically the repressed class of the society... He was a rebel of his own kind. Probably, Azad has a vague idea of what he wants to say. But probably not able to put it across. If you take up an issue, you do out research. And that is missing, " it said.

Azad filed the bail plea through advocate Mehmood Pracha, claiming that there was no evidence against him and his arrest was illegal.

Azad was arrested on December 21 last year after he led a march from Jama Masjid against the Citizenship Amendment Act. He was sent to judicial custody till January 18 at Tihar jail.

The Bhim Army chief was charged with rioting, unlawful assembly and inciting the mob to indulge in violence after vandalism in Delhi's Darya Ganj area.

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