Assam courts grant bail to 14 UAPA detainees held over pro-Taliban posts

New Delhi, October 12 (KMS): At least 14 Muslim men arrested by the Assam Police for alleged pro-Taliban social media posts in August have been granted bail by local courts.

Indian media reported that except one, all of them were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which makes bail extremely difficult but the courts ruled that the grounds to keep them in jail were weak. They were arrested on August 21 on the directions of Chief Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma who had asked the police to “act without fear and favour”.

One of the accused who got bail is 49-year-old Maulana Fazlul Karim Qasimi, a former functionary of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind state secretary. The Gauhati High Court said that apart from a Facebook post, there was “nothing incriminating” against Qasimi.

“Even if it is accepted that the applicant is the author of the Facebook post… in the absence of other incriminating materials, it is doubtful as to whether the contents thereof alone would constitute a cognizable offence. Further custodial detention of the applicant would be uncalled for in this case,” the Indian Express report quoted Justice Suman Shyam as saying.

Another accused, Saidul Hoque, a constable with Assam Police, was granted bail on September 22 by Kamrup Sessions Court.

The report added that Jawed Husain Mazumder (30), Faruk Husain Khan (32), Mozidul Islam (25), Arman Hussain (25), medical student Nadim Akhtar Laskar (23), Maulana Basiruddin Laskar (65) and Maqbool Alam got bail at the initial stage (‘motion stage’) itself, from Gauhati High Court judge Hitesh Kumar Sarma.

Abu Bakkar Sidique (55), a private tutor, the court said his case diary has not been received even after 47 days of detention.

Mujib Uddin, 24, a teacher, and B.Com student Mortuza Hussain Khan, 18, both from Karimganj are also out on bail. Yaseen Khan, a Maulana, who was the only one not slapped with UAPA, got bail on September 15.

A total of 16 Muslim men were detained over pro-Taliban posts. Two of them – Khandakar Nur Alom, 57, and Saiyad Ahmed, a rickshaw puller – are still behind bars as Dhubri Sessions Court rejected their bail. Now their next hearing is on October 22. KMS—16M

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