A Delhi Court on Saturday granted bail to Delhi University’s Hindu College professor Ratan Lal, who was arrested on Friday over a social media post on Gyanvapi Mosque. The Hindu College professor had questioned the validity of the videography survey that claimed the existence of a ‘Shivling’ inside the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi.
Lal was produced before a court on Saturday afternoon where his lawyer had put forward his bail application. While granting bail, the court ordered Lal to “strictly refrain from posting any social media posts or interviews” in connection with the Gyanvapi Mosque survey that resulted in his arrest.
The Delhi Police had asked for a 14-day judicial custody of Lal in order to further investigate the case. As the police counsel argued before the court that granting Lal bail would send out a wrong message and set a bad precedent, the Delhi Police defended its action saying that they did everything necessary to stop the accused from committing any similar offenses in the future.
Lal was arrested by the Cyber Police Station, North under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion).
Advocate of Ratan Lal, Mehmood Pracha said that the provisions under which Lal was charged did not empower the police officials to arrest him. “A false case was registered against him (Prof Ratan Lal). The FIR & complaint doesn’t mention one thing that can be termed as a cognizable offense. Despite that, arrests cannot be made u/s 153A & 295A IPC, police don’t have that power,” Pracha was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“This arrest is also a contempt of the judgment by the Supreme Court… & a violation of section 3 in the Scheduled Castes & the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act… we will prove his innocence. More protests should happen,” added Pracha.
Earlier, Lal had defended his actions saying that he was entitled to his views. He even claimed that his 20-year-old son was being constantly threatened over Facebook Messenger after his tweet. “In India, if you speak about anything, someone or the other’s sentiment will be hurt. So this is nothing new. I am a historian and have made several observations. As I wrote them down, I have used very guarded language in my post and still this. I will defend myself,” said Lal.