Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad will walk out of Tihar jail 25 days after his arrest on charges of inciting a mob but he can't stay in the national capital or hold any protests. A Delhi court on Wednesday granted Azad, 33, bail on the condition that he doesn't hold protests in the city, leaves the city and keeps the police posted whenever he has to return to the national capital for medical treatment.
Azad agreed to abide by the conditions imposed in view of the Delhi elections on February 8 to secure his release. He is expected to later seek modifications to the order.
Under the conditions imposed by Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, Chandrashekar Azad would be able to stay in Delhi for 24 hours after his release to visit Ravidas temple, Jor Bagh Hazrat Ali shrine and then Jama Masjid. Then he'll be escorted out by cops to Uttar Pradesh. Azad, through his counsel Mahmood Pracha, told the court he would go to Saharanpur.
The judge, in course of the hearing, had indicated that she was inclined to release him on bail but had pointed out to what she had described as two hindrances. One, was Azad's antecedents (involvement in similar offences in the past) and the possibility that he might indulge in the alleged offences again.
The conditions imposed by the judge were designed to achieve the twin objectives.
During the two-day hearing on Azad's bail application, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau had underscored the right of people to protest, frowned at the practice of the police imposing restrictions under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code and come down heavily on the police for failing to produce any evidence against Azad.
On Wednesday, she added a bit of advice for Chandrashekhar Azad too. The judge told Azad that a street protest should be a measure of last resort. Dialogue should be first, she said. The judge also pointed out that if someone leads a protest, they are liable to be made to pay for the damages by the people who join the protest.
But the police also got a sharp rap on its knuckles after they could not produce evidence to back the charge that his supporters had damaged public property.