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Religious intolerance, riots, and Bollywood kept Delhi courts busy in 2022

New Delhi: High-profile corruption cases against Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia, minister Satyendar Jain, former NSE boss Chitra Ramakrishna and exMumbai police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey hogged the limelight in Delhi courts during 2022.

The terror case against former JNU student Umar Khalid and the money laundering case against Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez were some of the other highlights as the courts made a transition from the virtual to physical mode as the Covid situation eased. PTI

Kashmiri separatist leader Mohammad Yasin Malik was convicted in a terror funding case and was awarded life imprisonment. While convicting him, the judge said the crimes committed by him were intended to strike at the heart of the “idea of India” and forcibly secede J&K from the Union of India. Another court in December discharged former JNU student Umar Khalid along with United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi in one case related to the 2020 northeast Delhi riots. While Saifi was granted regular bail in another case, Khalid could only secure a seven-day interim bail to attend his sister’s marriage. Both face charges under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA and continue to remain in jail.

Fact-checking website Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested on June 27 in a case related to a 2018 “objectionable tweet” against a Hindu deity. He was granted bail on July 15 by the court, which said, “The voice of dissent is necessary for a healthy democracy” and that the Hindu religion and its followers are “tolerant.” Besides the case against Zubair, the courts also dealt with a substantial number of other matters of allegedly hurting religious sentiments, including the arrest of Delhi University Associate Professor Ratan Lal in May for his “objectionable remarks” on social media related to the claims of a ‘Shivling’ being found at Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque.

Sharjeel Imam, another former JNU student, was also able to secure bail in a sedition case in which he was accused of instigating the December 2019 Jamia riots. He is, however, still in jail in cases related to the Delhi riots. A city court ordered framing of charges against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Tahir Hussain and others in several cases related to the North East Delhi riots through the year.
The case related to the Jahangirpuri riots during a Hanuman Jayanti procession in April where a police sub-inspector was shot, also made the headlines during the year. In a charge sheet filed before the court, 45 people were charged with criminal conspiracy and other offences. A court also dealt with the custody of the accused in the Bulli Bai app case related to “auction” of Muslim women that triggered outrage.

WIn yet another case of alleged religious intolerance, filmmaker Leena Manimekalai had to appear before a court here in response to an application seeking to restrain her from depicting a Hindu goddess in her upcoming movie Kaali’ in an “objectionable way”. The court will continue hearing the arguments in January. The alleged visa scam case against Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, issuance and subsequent withdrawal of LOC against Aakar Patel, DirectorCEO of Amnesty International India, and alleged abduction, gang-rape and parading of a 20-yearold woman in east Delhi’s Kasturba Nagar also kept making the front pages of the national dailies.

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