Gujarat court grants bail to Islamic cleric Azhari in second ‘hate speech’ case

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Bhuj : A court in Gujarat’s Kutch district on Sunday granted bail to Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Mufti Salman Azhari in a second “hate speech” case registered against him in connection with a religious event organised at Samakhiali town of the district around two weeks back.


The cleric was granted bail by a court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Y Sharma at Bhachau, Samakhiali police sub-inspector Vishal Patel said.


After being granted bail, Azhari was taken to the Rajkot central jail from where the Arvalli police will take his custody in a third “hate speech” case registered against him at Modasa police station on Friday, Patel said.


On February 8, the Bhachau court had remanded Azhari in police custody till Sunday. When he was produced before the court on Sunday, Azhari’s lawyer moved a bail application. After hearing both sides, the court allowed his bail plea.


Azhari was on February 7 granted bail in the first FIR registered against him for delivering an alleged hate speech in B division police station limits in Junagadh on January 31. He had been held from Mumbai on February 5 in connection with this case.


A day after getting bail by the Bhachau court, he was arrested by the Kutch police in connection with an alleged inflammatory speech during a religious event at Samakhiari on January 31. He secured bail in the second case, registered on February 8, on Sunday.


On Friday, the preacher was booked in a third case for giving allegedly an inciting speech in an open ground in Modasa in Arvalli district on December 24 last year.


In Junagadh and Kutch, Azhari was booked under Indian Penal Code sections 153B (promoting enmity between different religious groups) and 505 (2) (making statements conducive to public mischief).


In Modasa, apart from sections 153B and 505(2), he has also been charged under section 298 for “uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person”.


Relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act have also been invoked as he made derogatory remarks against the SC community in his speech, as per police.

Source (PTI)

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