Gandhian peacemaker, Faisal Khan was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court on Friday, December 18. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves and Ali Qambar Zaidi appeared for the applicant Khan and Additional Government Advocate represented the State.
The single-judge bench of Justice Siddharth ruled, “Having considered the material on record, larger mandate of the Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the dictum of Apex Court in the case of Dataram Singh Vs. State of U.P. and another, reported in (2018) 3 SCC 22 and without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, let the applicant involved in the aforesaid crime be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned.”
The court also imposed conditional bail by directing Khan to not use social media till the trial ends. “Applicant will not use social media for any such purposes till the conclusion of trial”, the court said.
The court was hearing Faisal Khan’s bail application seeking his release from Mathura jail, booked under relevant Indian Penal Code sections for promoting enmity between religious groups, hurting the religious sentiments of people of a particular community and cheating at Police Station Barsana, Mathura.
His counsel argued that Faisal Khan is a renowned social activist who had revived Khudai Khidmatgar (servants of God) movement of India and has been constantly working to maintain communal harmony for the last 25 years. In this connection he also undertook a yatra to visit temples. It was submitted that he was offered prasad and lunch by the Chief Priest of the temple and he also bestowed blessings on him as clear from photographs in dispute.
He further submitted that the applicant has been falsely implicated in this case. The applicant’s counsels argued that “only on the basis of photographs which went viral, he cannot be said to have any intention to disturb the communal harmony of the society.”
“He did not enter into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple rather he performed Namaz outside of the temple with the permission of the priest of the temple as clear from the viral photographs. The allegation of receiving foreign funds is without basis”, argued the lawyers.
As the convener of Khudai Khitmatgar, an organisation and movement devoted to interfaith harmony and peace, Faisal Khan was concluding his four-day bicycle rally ‘Brij 84 Kosi Parikrama’ aimed at spreading the message of inter-faith unity, love and religious tolerance. On October 29, he visited the Nandbaba Temple in Mathura, spoke to other devotees and also offered Namaz in the backyard of the temple as a gesture of communal harmony. A video of the said incident was recorded and uploaded on social media.
But the FIR lodged against him alleges that he along with co-accused Chand Mohammad offered Namaz inside the temple without the consent of the mandir priest and the video was made viral. The Mathura Police also charged both of them for receiving illegal foreign funds.
Earlier, on November 24, the court of Additional District Judge-II Mahendra Nath, Mathura District court had rejected Faisal Khan’s bail plea. Thereafter, they appealed to the High Court of Allahabad.
The order may be read here: