Madras High Court grants anticipatory bail to BJP leader Prashant Kumar Umrao over tweet alleging attack on Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu
The High Court of Madras has granted anticipatory bail to BJP Spokesperson for Uttar Pradesh, Prashant Kumar Umrao, in an FIR lodged against him by the Tamil Nadu police, alleging that he spread false information regarding alleged attacks on migrant workers from Bihar in the state.
The Single-Judge bench of Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan granted anticipatory bail to Umrao on a bail bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties, while directing him to co-operate in the investigation. The accused was directed to report before the concerned police daily at 10:30 a.m. and 05:30 p.m. for a period of 15 days.
The High Court told Umrao to file an undertaking before the Judicial Magistrate, stating that he would neither tweet nor forward any such message, which could promote enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language.
The Thoothukudi police had filed an FIR against the lawyer under Sections 153, 153A, 504 and 505 of the Indian penal Code (IPC).
Umrao had claimed that a false complaint had been given against him on account of political vendetta. He further contended that even assuming the tweets were seen by lakhs of persons, no untoward incident or group clashes had taken place between the communities of the two states and thus, the messages did not attract the ingredients for promoting enmity between two groups.
As per the lawyer, he had simply retweeted the messages, which were originally tweeted by private news channels. However, on knowing that the news was not confirmed, he deleted the tweets.
The accused claimed that he did not support any discrimination on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, or language. The lawyer had alleged in a tweet that he was made a victim because of an opposite political ideology.
The state of Tamil Nadu opposed the bail petition on the grounds that the tweets were intentional and meant to incite violence and enmity. It created a panic situation among the Hindi-speaking people in Tamil Nadu and Tamil-speaking people in North India, which led to a commotion Bihar on March 2, noted the Counsel appearing for the state government.
Alleging that a large-scale conspiracy was involved, the Tamil Nadu government sought custodial interrogation of the accused to ‘unearth’ the truth.