Gyanvapi: DU professor arrested over 'derogatory' Shivling post gets bail
Delhi University's associate professor Ratan Lal, who was arrested on Friday for posting derogatory remarks on the Shivling found inside Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque complex, was granted bail after furnishing a bond of Rs. 50,000. Complainant Vineet Jindal, a Delhi-based lawyer, had lodged an FIR stating that Lal infringed on the Hindu religious sensitivities by sharing a "derogatory, inciting, and provocative tweet on the Shivling."
- After an alleged Shivling was found inside the mosque complex on Monday, the Supreme Court ordered to seal the spot on Tuesday. It has snowballed into a national issue touching the religious conscience of people.
- The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Trust, however, said the object was part of the wuzukhana.
- Meanwhile, a court-appointed team submitted the final survey report to a Varanasi court on Thursday.
Lal, who was arrested by the Civil Lines Police, was presented at Delhi's Tis Hazari court on Saturday. The case was registered for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., committing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, and deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting religious beliefs.
The Delhi Police sought Lal's judicial custody. However, the professor had approached the Delhi court seeking bail and protection. "We are moving his bail plea. He is not a criminal and will not run away. You [police] did not serve any notice to him or give him a chance to reply to the complaint. The offenses are bailable," Lal's lawyer had earlier said.
"If this is Shivling, it seems possibly Shiva ji was also circumcised," Lal wrote in Hindi, sharing a photo of the alleged Shivling on Facebook. "The Shivling doesn't look broken, it looks cut. What did I say?" he told India Today. "If Muslims came to the country and converted people, what's the first thing they must've done? In Islam, the first thing is circumcision."
Demanding punitive legal action against Lal, Jindal said that though the Constitution provided citizens with the freedom of speech and expression, the misuse of this right was inexplicable. He accused Lal of intending to activate "enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion which is against the ideology of a secular democratic country" and also a criminal offense as per the law.
Lal, in his defense, had earlier said, "In India, if you speak about anything, someone or the other's sentiment will be hurt. I am a historian and have made observations." "Is this a dictatorship that you won't let me say what I think?" he asked, speaking to India Today. "The agenda is being set for the 2024 polls," the history professor had added.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday said that it would not interfere with the survey order passed by the Varanasi court in the case, adding that an "experienced" district judge must now hear the case. The apex court also said that Tuesday's interim order for the protection of the Shivling area and unhindered access to Muslims to offer namaz would continue.