Khureji Khas stir: Court denies bail to former Congress councillor

Anand Mohan J
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Police told the court that Ishrat asked the crowd to pelt stones at officers, due to which a constable sustained injuries and a person from the crowd opened fire.

Observing that when protectors of law are targeted, public confidence in them is lowered, a Delhi court denied bail to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, who was arrested when Delhi Police was clearing out an anti-CAA protest site in Northeast Delhi’s Khureji Khas Wednesday.

Police alleged that as riots raged in Northeast Delhi, a flag march headed by senior officers had asked protesters to clear the road, but Ishrat “instigated the crowd by saying they would not remove themselves even if they die, and whatever police officers do, they want freedom (azadi)”.

Police told the court that Ishrat asked the crowd to pelt stones at officers, due to which a constable sustained injuries and a person from the crowd opened fire. Ishrat has been charged under IPC sections of attempt to murder and rioting. Police have arrested seven persons in the case, and claim to have recovered a country-made pistol, three sticks, two iron rods and 10-12 pieces of bricks and stones.

Additional Sessions Judge Naveen Gupta denied bail to Ishrat, saying she did not deserve bail despite being a woman. “The charges are serious in nature. When protectors of law are targeted in the manner as reflected in present FIR, and that too in the gaze of general public, such actions lower public confidence in the ability of police officers to do their duty... the applicant/accused, despite being a woman, does not deserve bail at this stage,” the court said.

Ishrat’s counsel, advocate Pradeep Teotia, argued that it was “one of the fundamental rights of citizens to protest and register their dissent against any unreasonable measure of the government”. Her lawyers also submitted that Ishrat was targeted because of political vendetta as she was associated with the Congress, and she was not present at the spot but was arrested from her house.

But the court held: “There is no doubt a peaceful protest is the essential right in a vibrant democracy as ours, but this right is subject to certain exceptions provided under the Constitution.”