Wednesday, May 22, 2024

“No sufficient ground”: 11 Muslims labeled as terror group supporters granted bail after 598 days in UP

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Tuesday granted bail to 11 Muslim men arrested by the Anti Terrorism Squad for allegedly being involved with the banned organization Al Qaeda and its Indian counterparts.

The two-judge bench comprising Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Manish Kumar Nigam, while granting bail to all 11 accused, maintained that after considering the record of the case and the documents attached thereto, and after hearing the accused and the prosecution, there is no sufficient ground for taking action against the accused. The court also stated it would mention its reasons for doing so.

The court stated, “This prosecution could not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt at this stage.”

Talking to Maktoob, Advocate Furkan Pathan, representing the 11 Muslim men, said, “The prosecution failed to prove the claims they made while arresting them and didn’t produce the accused in court when required, hence the court granted the default bail.”

He added, “These arrests were made baselessly and proved so too.”

Another counsel appearing for the respondents, Advocate Saif Ali, stated, “When asked where these banned organizations’ bases are in India, if they are operating here, the prosecution couldn’t furnish a response.”

Default bail, as the name suggests, is given automatically when the agency or authority dealing with the case fails to complete the investigation or prove the charges within the allotted timeframe.

All 11 Muslim men who were granted default bail are Aleem, Muddasir, Nadeem, Habibul Islam, Haris, Aasmohmmad, Kamil, Qari Shahjad, Maulana Luqman, Ali Noor, Nawaziah Ansari, Mukhtar, and Maulana Luqman.

They were picked up by the Uttar Pradesh ATS on September 26, 2022, on the grounds of having links with terror organizations in India and other neighboring countries. Their mobile phones, gadgets, laptops, and reading materials were seized during the arrest.

Later, the ATS produced 45 eyewitnesses in court to support their claims but was unsuccessful as the court stated, “There is no ground to keep the accused under custody as the prosecution failed to prove.”

The Delhi High Court recently, while granting bail to an alleged ISIS supporter in a case under the anti-terror law UAPA, said that mere ‘fascination’ with the banned terrorist organization cannot be considered as association with it.

It also underlined, “Merely because the mobile device of the appellant was found carrying incriminating material including photographs of terrorist Osama bin Laden, Jihad Promotion, ISIS flags, etc. and he was also accessing lectures of hard-liner/Muslim preachers would not be enough to brand him as a member of such terrorist organisation, much less his being acting in furtherance of its cause.”

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