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Karnataka HC grants bail to Congress MLA’s relative Naveen who was accused of ‘blasphemy’ by Islamic mobs for Facebook comment

The court remarked that since Naveen's only offence was posting some remarks on social media, denying him bail over the only ground that there may be a threat to his life, will be a violation of his fundamental rights.

P Naveen, the relative of sitting Congress MLA from Pulikeshinagar Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, has been granted bail by the Karnataka High Court as reported by Live Law. Naveen was booked under sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code and section 67 of the Information Technology Act over his alleged derogatory comment regarding Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. His bail plea was rejected earlier this month by Additional City Civil and Sessions court.

While accepting his bail application, the court observed that the petitioner could not be refused bail merely on the ground that there was threat to his life, as was contended by the Special Public Prosecutor, as this would indirectly affect his fundamental right.

Justice BA Patil, before whom Naveen’s bail application has come up, noted in the bail order, “I am of the considered opinion that the apprehension of the Special Public Prosecutor that if he is released on bail there is a threat to the life of petitioner himself and it may create unrest in the society can be taken care off by imposing some stringent conditions. Merely on the ground that there is a threat to the life of petitioner if the bail application of the petitioner is rejected, it would indirectly affect the fundamental right of the petitioner, when the only allegation against the petitioner is that he has posted some derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed in his Facebook account and subsequently the same has been withdrawn”.

Public prosecutor blames Naveen for Islamist mob violence in Bengaluru

Special Public Prosecutor Prasanna Kumar had contended before the court that Naveen had posted the remarks on Facebook to create unrest in the society. Holding Naveen responsible for the violence unleashed on the streets of Bengaluru following his alleged post, the SPP said that petitioner has created a disturbance in the locality and that there was a “commotion” in which two police stations and 57 vehicles were set on fire and many more properties and vehicles were damaged. Declaring Naveen a habitual offender, the SPP urged the court not to grant him bail as there was enough prima facie material available against him.

Background of the Case

Bengaluru had witnessed horrific riots in the month of August where thousands of violent Islamists had attacked the MLA’s residence and the police stations in DJ Halli and KG Halli. Around 60 police personnel were injured in the violence unleashed by Islamist mobs on the streets of Bengaluru and many vehicles were torched. During the investigation, Naveen had reportedly said that he often responds to anti-Hindu posts on social media and that he was being targeted for protecting the interests of Hindus on social media. Naveen had received death threats on social media after his alleged post.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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