'Will continue protest against CAA till repealed': Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad visits Jama Masjid after getting bail

Tehreem Fatima

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said demonstration through constitutional means will continue until the Citizenship Amendment Act is repealed. Azad, who was arrested in connection with the violence during an anti-CAA protest in Old Delhi's Daryaganj, was released from Tihar Jail on Thursday night.

A Delhi court granted him conditional bail on Wednesday. He has been asked to leave Delhi within 24 hours of his release from jail and to stay out of the city for four weeks.

On being asked about the restrictions imposed he said that he would appeal to the court. "Court gave me relief. I have faith in the judiciary," he said.

Asserting that the fight against National Population Register (NPR), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and CAA will be strengthened, Azad said it is important to make the Centre realise that not just the Muslims but, everyone across the nation is against the new law.

"I am a staunch follower of Ambedkar and a lawyer too. I don't do anything which is against the law. We shouldn't be treated like a slave in our own country. The protest against NPR, NRC and CAA will be strengthened so the Centre realises that everyone is against the new law," he said.

Highlighting the protests led by women, especially at Shaheen Bagh, he said that the nation is proud of them and everyone would continue to lend them support.

"Women, especially from the Muslim community, have emboldened the spirit of the protest. Muslim women who didn't come out and speak on abrogation of Article 370, Triple talaq or Ayodhya verdict are now speaking when a law is being forcefully implemented to break the nation. I am proud to see all of them at Shaheen Bagh have remained firm on their demands," Azad further said.

He also said that he will make an appeal to the Delhi court to allow him to visit Shaheen Bagh.

On being asked if the court denies him permission, what would be his next step of action Azad said that his motive would be to boost the narrative anti-CAA protests and to make the Centre take back the contentious law.

"My work is my home and this society is my family. I will continue to serve my family, who belong to the poor, Adivasi, Dalit and the Muslim community. The part of the society who do not get enough opportunity to voice their concerns I will work for them. My strategy will be to intensify the narrative of the anti-CAA protests and to make the Centre take back the contentious law. We will continue to voice our protest against CAA until it is repealed," he said.

Making an appeal to the citizens, he said it is the responsibility of every Indian citizen to voice dissent through constitutional means.

"It is important to expand our support to the anti-CAA protests because it is against the division of the nation. It is important for every citizen to protect the Constitution. Today the Centre is trying to subvert the Constitution. It is vital to seek answers from the government," he said.

Azad visits Jama Masjid, terms CAA 'black act'

On Friday, Azad visited the historic Jama Masjid where he stayed for close to 40 minutes. Swarmed by his supporters and locals, Azad, with his trademark blue 'safaa', read out the Preamble to the Constitution.

Calling for repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which he termed as a "black act", he said nothing is bigger than keeping the country together.

"This (anti-CAA) movement is for the future of this country, for our identity and to uphold the Constitution. It is our responsibility to strengthen it," he said.

Before visiting Jama Masjid, he also paid obeisance at Bhagwan Valmiki Mandir near Gole Market and visited Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.

Azad's outfit had organised a march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar against the amended citizenship act on 20 December, without police permission. He was sent to judicial custody on 21 December.

On Wednesday, a Delhi court tore into the police for failing to produce evidence of its charges against Azad.

"It is one's constitutional right to protest," the court said.

Granting bail to Azad, the court also restrained him from visiting Delhi for four weeks and directed him not to hold any dharna till the elections in the National Capital.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau had granted the relief to Azad on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000.

While granting bail to Azad on Wednesday, the judge recited Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem 'Where the Mind is Without Fear' and said citizens have a fundamental right to peaceful protest which cannot be curtailed by the state.

"I am reminded of our reverend patriotic poet Rabindranath Tagore who is most relevant today. He during the colonial era in early 1900's when British followed the policy of Divide and Rule, visualised a nation where there is no fear in the minds people and education is attained by all; people are enlightened and do not create walls of discrimination," she had said.

Judge Kamini Lau was furious when the prosecutor referred to Azad's social media posts to argue that he had incited violence and read out the Bhim Army chief's tweet about going to a dharna in Jama Masjid.

"Where is the violence? What is wrong with any of these posts? Who says you cannot protest...have you read the Constitution?"

The judge also noted: "You are behaving as if Jama Masjid is in Pakistan. Even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India."

With inputs from PTI

Also See: Chandra Shekhar Azad gets bail in Daryaganj violence case: Court tells Bhim Army chief to leave Delhi for 4 weeks, but 'stay in Saharanpur'

'You are behaving as if Jama Masjid is Pakistan': Judge hearing Chandra Shekhar Azad's bail plea slams Delhi Police for action on anti-CAA protesters

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad seeks bail in Daryaganj violence case; plea to be heard tomorrow

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