Geelani was arrested on sedition charges after he organized an event in which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.

SAR Geelani gets bail in sedition casePTI
news Sedition Case Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 15:56

Ex-Delhi University professor SAR Geelani was granted bail on Saturday by the Patiala House court on a personal bond and surety of Rs. 50,000.

The court was hearing the bail plea of Geelani, arrested on February 16 on sedition charges after he organized an event in the Press Club in Delhi on February 10, in which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised. This was Geelani’s second bail application in the case, after his first was rejected on February 19.

The Delhi Police reportedly opposed the bail plea on the grounds that the event was “an attack on the soul of India”. Geelani’s counsel, however, said that there was no evidence that Geelani had raised anti-national slogans or incited others to it, and that criticising the Supreme Court [for its decision in the Parliament attack case] was not contempt of court.

In his bail application, Geelani had said that no fruitful purpose was served by keeping him in judicial custody, where he has been since February 16, and that he has cooperated in the investigation and there is no evidence against him.

Geelani’s arrest in February came more than a decade after his acquittal in 2005 in the Parliament attack case in 2001. Since it occurred in close proximity with the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and the filing of sedition charges against other JNU students for a similar event, Geelani’s case has been held up as part of the same debate on dissent and the right to free speech.

The grant of bail has come at a time when there was some concern of different treatment towards Geelani and the JNU students, particularly in terms of political mobilisations for their release. “(This is) because he is a Kashmiri Muslim,” The Indian Express reported Geelani’s brother, Bismillah, as saying. “It is okay for the state to arrest him for something he is not guilty of. No protest has been carried out in his support despite the two cases being similar.” 

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