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Does paying protestors make an offence under UAPA: NE Delhi riots accused in court

Shifa Ur Rehman’s lawyer, Abhishek Singh, argued for bail in the case before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat who adjourned the matter for September 8.

Alumni Association of Jamia Milia Islamia (AAJMI) president Shifa Ur Rehman, accused in a UAPA case in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots, asked a Delhi court through his lawyer Tuesday that if paying protestors is an offence under UAPA.

Rehman’s lawyer, Abhishek Singh, argued for bail in the case before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat who adjourned the matter for September 8.

During the hearing, Singh produced a complaint filed by Rehman seeking action against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, and Parvesh Verma for allegedly making hate speeches. “Did the prosecution even bother to call them as witnesses or accused or issue a notice that we want to know something? Because they said ‘shoot xyz’ so they know who those people are. They will at least have some evidence. Why was no FIR registered against them? This was the complaint I was pursuing,” he told the court.

Singh told the court that “there has been a systematic violation of my (Rehman’s) fundamental rights”. He argued that no other person from AAJMI has been made an accused in this case and submitted that his client should not have been arrested in the matter.

“Being a member or part of AAJMI is not offence. Being a protestor is not offence. A person is entitled to his opinion. Being a member of JCC is not an offence. JCC (Jamia Coordination Committee) was a WhatsApp group,” Singh told the court.

Singh told the court that even otherwise, in the JCC group, there was no instigation of violence. “In fact, AAJMI, according to their own evidence, made appeal for peaceful protest,” he argued.

“There is a fundamental right to protest. Why are you putting him in the bracket of rioters and not protestor? He had made some financial arrangements also. He paid some protestors who were protesting but does it make an offence under UAPA?” Singh told the court.

Singh told the court that it is not a question of NRC or CAA being valid in the national interest.

“Question is if certain section of society is aggrieved by legislation, how they perceive it or protest against it is not a crime. They can certainly protest,” Singh said.

The lawyer told the court that AAJMI was an organisation “which is telling students to not boycott their examination”. “During independence, there were leaders who advised students to boycott their exams. This is an organisation who is responsible,” Singh told the court.

“He is shown to have given speeches. Why has the prosecution not bothered to bring on record any of his speeches? Because that would destroy the prosecution case because he always advocated that protest has to be in peaceful manner. They have avoid producing it,” Singh said.

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