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Okhla Councillor
jailed for a poster

Okhla councillor Asif Muhammad Khan was refused bail by a Delhi court on 4 October. He was arrested by the Delhi police on 28 September after allegedly putting up posters ‘supporting Osama Bin Laden’ and questioning government’s assurance of help to the US.
Khan was taken into custody on charges of ‘promoting communal hatred’ by pasting ‘provocative posters at public places.’

The posters had come up in Zakir Nagar, Batla House and Okhla areas of South Delhi. According to Joint Commissioner of Police Amodh Kant, the councillor had also tried to create trouble before the arrest of SIMI activists at their office in Zakir Nagar area. The police official was apparently referring to a public rally held by Khan a day before his arrest where he had vowed to resist the ban on SIMI.

Khan was remanded to police custody for 14 days by the Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Kumar, who rejected his bail application saying it was unfortunate that a people’s representative who has taken oath to a secular constitution, should indulge in making posters ‘declaring war against Christianity’ [the posters do not contain such matter].

Legal experts say that the arrest of the fiery councillor from Okhla was ill-conceived as there was nothing against anyone in his posters. The poster was not in favour of Osama Bin Laden and it was not against either the government or Christianity. What it attempted was a comparison between contradictory US actions in the case of Iraq and other countries.

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