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Demanding Hindu Rashtra is not hate speech: Jantar Mantar accused in Delhi HC

Demanding Hindu Rashtra is not hate speech: Jantar Mantar accused in Delhi HC
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New Delhi: In a democratic set up, a demand for "Hindu Rashtra" does not amount to promoting enmity between religious groups, an accused in a case of allegedly communal sloganeering at an event at Jantar Mantar here argued before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.

Preet Singh, one of the organisers of the event and presently in judicial custody, told Justice Mukta Gupta that he would not press his bail application if the court held a contrary opinion.

The judge reserved order on Singh's bail plea after hearing his counsel as well as Delhi Police who opposed his release.

"I say with the greatest sense of responsibility, if the court holds that the demand (of Hindu Rashtra) comes under Section 153 IPC, I will not press my bail application. In a democratic set up, if it (the demand) is promoting enmity, I will not press my bail," said counsel Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing Singh.

The lawyer conceded to the accused giving an interview to media on this demand but contended that he was not part of the allegedly communal sloganeering.

"Nothing is said by my client which attracts Section 153A IPC. They are putting a case of Section 34 IPC (common intention) but the event ended at 11:45 am and sloganeering happened at 3:45 pm. My client was not present at the time," he stated.

The court was also informed that the main organiser, lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, has already been granted bail.

"Sloganeering was the genesis of the FIR and I was not there," the counsel stated.

Counsel Tarang Srivastava, representing the prosecution, stated that all accused persons acted in concert and Singh's absence at the time of chanting of allegedly communal slogans would not absolve him from any liability.

He added that even in his interview, Singh referred to a specific community, which was "part of a series of same

transaction."

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