Haryana Court granted bail to Ram Bhakt Gopal

News Desk: Arrested on July 12 for making provocative comments against Muslims at a Mahapanchayat in Gurugram, Gopal Sharma was granted bail by a Haryana court on Monday. Sharma, who refers to himself as Ram Bhakt Gopal, is infamous for opening fire on anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi on January 30, 2020.  In the present case, a complaint was lodged against him by Dinesh, a resident of Jamalpur village in Gurgaon, who runs a private business.

The complaint read, “On 04.07.2021 a Mahapanchayat was organised at the Ramlila Ground, Pataudi, where a man Gopal Sharma alias Ram Gopal Bhakt delivered a very provocative speech which could have caused riots and ruined the law and order situation, and this speech was inciting religious sentiments. The video of this speech has gone viral on social media”. In the purported video of the speech, he warned those with a “terrorist mindset” that Pataudi is “not far” if he can travel 100 km away to Jamia Millia Islamia in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

As per the FIR registered on July 11, Gopal was booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) of the IPC. On July 16, Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Sageer had denied him bail, citing that the accused’s speech was “itself a form of violence” which cannot be “tolerated in any civilised society”. However, Additional Sessions Judge DN Bharadwaj granted bail after Gopal’s counsel referenced a Supreme Court order to stress that bail can be granted soon after arrest in cases where the maximum punishment is up to 7 years.