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Anti-CAA protests: Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azaad gets bail

Anti-CAA protests: Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azaad gets bail
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New Delhi: Tis Hazari Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau on Wednesday granted bail to Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azaad on the condition that he remain out of Delhi for the next four weeks, owing to the Assembly election scheduled to take place between February 8 and 11 here in the Capital.

Judge Lau ordered that Azaad be released on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000 and on the condition that he will remain in his hometown Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh for the next month, where he will have to report to the SHO of the Saharanpur police station on every Saturday for the next four weeks.

Azaad's lawyer, Mehmood Pracha pleaded the court for permission for his client to visit Jama Masjid, Guru Ravidas Temple and Jor Bagh before he is escorted out of the Capital to which the judge agreed and said that he would be allowed to pay homage to these sites before leaving for Saharanpur.

When Azaad's counsel argued to let his client remain at his Delhi home due to the security threat he faces in Uttar Pradesh, the court said that appropriate protection for the Bhim Army chief would be ensured during his stay there. Judge Lau also said that Azaad would need to inform the DCP (Crime) in Delhi before visiting AIIMS here for his treatment.

Interestingly, Judge Lau, who had pulled up the prosecution on Tuesday for assuming Azaad's call for a dharna at Jama Masjid as inflammatory and said that it was one's constitutional right to protest, on Wednesday remarked that no protest should inconvenience the public and that if any protest does end up damaging public property it is the responsibility of the one who called for the protest.

Judge Lau had also said on Tuesday that people had resorted to coming out on the streets because things that were supposed to be said in Parliament were not being said. But on Wednesday, the judge questioned why people were resorting to protest before engaging in dialogue.

While Azaad's counsel was reading out some of the tweets in questions on Wednesday, Judge Lau also took issue with the Bhim Army chief taking the Prime Minister's name and the RSS, saying that everyone must respect the institution of the Prime Minister and that bringing up RSS' name "could also be inciting".

However, Judge Lau made it clear that "in our democratic set-up we have a Fundamental Right to Peaceful Protest guaranteed by the Constitution, which cannot be curtailed by the State", adding that her reasoning for the bail included zero evidence linking Azaad to the violence and the fact that most of these charges are at large bailable.

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