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Zafarul Islam Khan gets court protection till June 22

Zafarul Khan has been booked by Delhi Police on the charge of sedition over a statement on social media

Tuesday May 12, 2020 5:49 PM, IANS

Zafarul Islam bail

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police that no coercive action should be taken against Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul Islam Khan till June 22, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Khan has been booked by Delhi Police on the charge of sedition over a statement on social media. Granting this interim protection, a single judge bench of the High Court presided by Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri has also asked the Delhi Police to submit a status report and posted the matter for hearing on June 22.

Reacting to the relief granted by the court, Khan speaking to IANS over the phone said, "I was sure that this verdict would come because there was nothing in the case and many lawyers have admitted this fact. However, I would say that whatever I said in that tweet, should not have been said."

Khan moved the petition through advocate Vrinda Grover in which he said that he is a law abiding senior citizen of India and is a public servant serving as the Chairperson of the Delhi Minorities Commission. He is a scholar, author of repute and a senior citizen aged about 72 years.

The plea stated that he apprehends his arrest on a motivated, untenable and absolutely frivolous complaint which has been registered by the Special Cell under Sections 124A/153A of the Indian Penal Code.

Islam had on April 28 posted controversial comments on his Facebook page.

"Mind you, bigots, Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arab and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynchings and riots. The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche," Khan had written on Facebook.

Delhi Police Special Cell registered the FIR on the complaint of a Vasant Kunj resident. According to the FIR, the copy of which is with IANS, Khan has been booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code -- 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.).

The Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police on May 6 conducted a raid on Zafarul Islam in connection with the case.

"The team was looking for the mobile handset used by him to post content on social media platforms," sources in the enforcement agency said.

Speaking to IANS over the phone, Islam's counsel Vrinda Grover had confirmed the raids and said, "The raids have concluded and the police team has now left. We have asked the enforcement agency to work in accordance with the law."

In a statement, Grover had said, "You are informed that Dr Zafarul Islam Khan is a senior citizen of 72 years age and he suffers from old age related physical illnesses that make him extremely vulnerable to the Covid-19 coronavirus."

Grover added that the law as per section 160 CrPC mandates that the police cannot compel attendance of a person above 65 years of age at any place other than their residence for the purpose of investigation and interrogation.

"You are required as per law to question/interrogate Dr Zafarul Islam Khan only in his residence and you cannot compel him to go to any police station. As Dr Khan's lawyer, I am hereby placing on record that as per law you cannot compel him to go to the police station. That would violate the CrPC and amount to illegal police action against the rights of my client," the statement read.

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