Delhi court grants bail to Deep Sidhu

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday granted bail to Punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who was arrested in connection with the Republic Day violence.Tens of thousands of people had come on the streets of the National Capital on Republic Day on foot, tractors or vehicles to protest against the new farm laws. Several among them clashed with the police while some reached the Red Fort, vandalised the place and planted a religious flag from the ramparts.

Sidhu was detained on February 9 by the Delhi police from the Karnal Highway in Haryana. As per the police, he was one of the perpetrators who had instigated the violence on January 26 in which one person died while scores were injured.

The 37-year-old actor in his bail plea claimed that though he went to the Red Fort but left the place before the violence. Sindhu also stated that he even tried to pacify the crowd which had turned unruly.

He said he never gave a call to the protestors to march towards the Red Fort as framed by the police and mere presence at the historic place doesn’t make him a member of the unlawful assembly.

The actor said the slogan “Jo Bole So Nihaal” is religious and questioned how raising this slogan can be considered inciteful.

On the other prosecution alleged that Sidhu, in various videos shot before the violence, has been found asking the people to reach Red Fort. “26 tareekh aarahe hai, zyaada se zyaada lo jao. Apne gharon se tractor lao (26th is coming, more and more people come out. Bring tractors from your home)”, was one of his statements, the prosecution alleged.

The prosecution alleged that Sidhu had an agenda to defame India nationally and internationally. If Red Fort was not there in the prescribed tractor parade then why they broke the route and reached there, the prosecution questioned.

Also, the violence at the Red Fort occurred after when Sidhu reached there, it alleged and urged for rejection of bail plea.

Rejecting the prosecution appeal for an extension of remand, Special Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen, who had reserved the bail plea on Monday, said, “The prosecution’s case rests largely and on the contents of video recordings and footage available and accessible to all on social media sites in public domain, and there is, therefore, a remote possibility of the accused-applicant being able to interfere with the content on such platform.”

Approving the bail, the court said, “It would violate and infringe the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed to the accused, if the accused is denied bail in the present case on such nature of accusations and material only on the grounds that the investigating agency is yet to establish the identity of several other members of the unlawful assembly.”