In Bail Conditions, Shaheen Bagh Protesters Told Not to Post Opinions on CAA

Three protesters – Taseer Ahmed, Shan Mohammed and Syed Masood Ahmad – were arrested under various sections of Indian Penal Code and the Epidemic Act.

New Delhi: Three people arrested from the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest site at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh – while clearing it on March 24 morning – are to be released from Tihar Jail on March 30 under certain stringent “conditions” for bail laid out by a local court.

The 11 conditions laid out for bail by the Jitendra Pratap, South East District Metropolitan Magistrate on March 29 include:

  1. marking their attendance every Monday at 10 am at the Shaheen Bagh police station during the investigation period of the case; not visiting the site of protest on the Kalindi Kunj-Sarita Vihar Road;
  2. not taking part in any meeting or gathering where more than five persons have assembled during the existence of the advisories and directions on COVID-19; and
  3. not posting any opinion regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on social media, instant messengers or give any interview regarding this to electronic or print media.

Though the Delhi Police took into custody nine protesters – three men and six women – from the site on March 24 morning while dismantling it along with paramilitary forces, citing the government’s order to disallow gathering due to the COVID-19 scare, the women were released that night.

Also read: ‘Our Fight Is Still On’: Shaheen Bagh’s Spirit Remains Unbroken

The three men – Taseer Ahmed, Shan Mohammed and Syed Masood Ahmad – were, however, arrested under various sections of Indian Penal Code and the Epidemic Act, including disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions and assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.

By then though, keeping the government’s orders for social distancing in mind, the women protesters had decided to continue the nearly 100-day protest with the help of only five or six women present at the site on rotation basis and maintaining a physical distance between them, while keeping shoes of other women around the site as a token of their presence.

On March 29, lawyers Dipika Jain, Seema Misra, Tariqu, Firoz Iqbal Kahn and Rashid Azam moved the bail application on behalf of Taseer, Shan and Masood citing the fear of catching coronavirus while in custody. Responding to it, the magistrate granted them bail. Both the Supreme Court and the Delhi high court have already asked the authorities to grant bail to some prisoners to decongest the jails and help curb the spread of the epidemic inside the prisons.

Also read: Farewell to Shaheen Bagh, as Political Togetherness Yields to Social Distance

However, responding to massive opposition by the public prosecutors to granting bail to the trio “primarily on the ground that the applicant (s) might mobilise a crowd at the protest site and that the same can prejudice the maintenance of law and order and also may affect adversely the efforts of the state to contain the spread of corona virus”,  the magistrate issued the 11 conditions in his order aside from furnishing a personal bond for a sum of Rs 25,000 with two sureties of the same amount .

The conditions also mandate that the applicants “shall not leave the territory of the Union of India without prior permission of the court”.

The trio are to be produced before the magistrate at 2 pm at Tihar on March 30.