The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted bail to 31 out of 33 accused in a case related to a boy allegedly raising provocative slogans during a march organized by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in coastal Alappuzha district in May this year. . Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas observed that the charges against the accused are of serious nature, they are all in jail for more than 30 days, so far as they are concerned, the investigation is complete and hence, their continued custody will not work further. Will do However, two co-accused are still absconding.
“In such circumstances, I am inclined to accept these bail applications,” the judge said. The court granted them bail on the condition that each of them furnish a surety bond of Rs 50,000 along with two solvent sureties of equal amount.
It asked him not to appear before the Investigating Officer on every alternate Saturday between 9 am and 11 am, not to intimidate or attempt to influence witnesses, tamper with evidence, not to commit any other similar offense while on bail and instructed to leave Kerala without permission of the jurisdictional court. The prosecution had opposed the bail pleas saying that the accused tried to disturb the harmony in the state and releasing them on bail would hamper the investigation.
The accused had argued that they were in custody for more than 30 days and the slogans were being misinterpreted and no offense was made out. In the FIR registered on the basis of Vijayakumar PK’s complaint, the police invoked various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Police Act against the accused.
A short video of a boy sitting on the shoulder of a man and allegedly raising provocative slogans had gone viral on social media during the “Save the Republic” rally organized by PFI in Alappuzha on May 21. Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts with intent to outrage religious feelings of any class), 505(1) (b) ( Acts against public peace), 505(1)(c), 505(2) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and 120(o) of the KP Act have been included in the FIR.
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