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Justice Ahmadi condemns councillor arrest

New Delhi: A sessions court has reserved its verdict on the bail application of Okhla Councillor Asif Muhammad Khan who remains under arrest for putting up a poster which was not liked by the powers-that-be. He is charged of causing communal disharmony and spreading hatred against a particular community (Christians) which is not supported either by the facts on the ground or the words used in the poster (see MG42 p. 3). The rulers in their newfound love for Washington are eager to be seen doing something which pleases the local cops as well since Asif is immensely popular in his area for his services to the people and standing up against injustice. The cross-examination of the case has been completed.

The councillor was arrested on 28 September from his residence after midnight for pasting posters in support of Osama bin Laden, under section 153A of Indian Penal Code and section 5 of West Bengal Act 1965. Earlier his bail application was twice rejected by Delhi court. While criticizing the bail application in Patiala House in the court of sessions judge Mamta Sahgal, Asif’s advocates told the court that the councillor was charged for promoting hatred between two communities, but the posters were pasted after WTC attacks and there was no tension in any area and the situation remained normal even after the arrest of the councillor. It has been further argued that the complainant was also a Muslim hence the complaint itself discharges the accusations. After hearing the arguments, the court has reserved its judgement till further date.

In the meantime Councillor Asif has received support form an unexpected quarter. Speaking at a seminar in the India international Centre on 13 October, former chief justice of India Justice Ahmadi said that ‘for putting up a poster a young man has has been thrown behind bars while he has committed no crime under Indian laws.’

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