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Chairperson of the Delhi Minorities Commission, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan has moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with an FIR registered against him for sedition and promoting religious enmity.
The matter is likely to come up for hearing on March 12.
In his petition filed through Advocates Vrinda Grover, Ratna Appender and Soutik Banerjee, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan (Petitioner) has alleged that the FIR is mala fide, misconceived and is based on misrepresentation of facts and untenable reading of the law.
An article was published by The Guardian, in which the Petitioner is quoted as having said that while Tablighi Jamaat had been short-sighted in holding the convention, there were “dozens of examples of government, political parties and other religious groups who also flouted the coronavirus restrictions and gathered in large numbers” and that “In the past few days, we have noted a new wave of attacks on Muslims across the country. There is talk of social boycott of Muslims, harassment of Muslims by Hindutva groups and Muslims are even being harassed by police in various areas.”
Subsequently, on April 28, the Petitioner shared a post on Facebook and Twitter, highlighting the targeting of Muslims by “bigots” in India and expressed his thanks to Kuwait for expressing international concern on the issue of the Muslim minority in India.
The Petitioner, while acknowledging the international community’s support, emphatically stated that Indian Muslims did not seek or require external help in India, the Petition claims.
It is the Petitioner's grievance that these posts was falsely reported, distorted and sensationalized out of context by certain sections of the media.
The Petitioner informed the Court that this false, inflammatory, malicious and distorted media coverage incited such hatred that frivolous and malicious complaints were made against him.
Subsequently, on May 2, an FIR was registered against the Petitioner at PS Special Cell, Delhi Police on receipt of a complaint.
The Petitioner has informed the Court that on May 6, just as the Petitioner was settling down for Iftaar, a police team came to the Petitioner’s residence and orally asked the Petitioner to accompany them to the Cyber Cell Police Station.
The Petitioner stated that the Police did not give any written notice to the Petitioner as mandated under Section 41A CrPC or Section 160 CrPC and despite being informed that the Petitioner was aged at least 72 years and suffers from health ailments, the police orally instructed him to appear before it on May 8.
In view of the above facts, the Petitioner has apprehended his arrest and prayed for anticipatory bail in the matter, under High Court's powers under Section 438 r/w Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Meanwhile, the High Court also health with a petition by one Manoranjan Kumar, seeking the removal of the Petitioner as Chairperson of Delhi Minorities Commission.
Inter alia, this petition also sought registration of an FIR and forfeiture of his social media accounts in interest of public peace and national security.
This petition was disposed of by a Single judge Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra after noticing that an FIR had already been registered and a representation with regards other prayers was already pending before the Authorities.
Read the Order: