Delhi University professor Ratan Lal, arrested over Gyanvapi Mosque post, granted bail
He was arrested on Friday regarding a social media post allegedly intended to outrage religious beliefs after the alleged discovery of Shivling inside Gyanvapi Mosque complex.
A Delhi court on Saturday granted bail to Delhi University professor Ratan Lal, who was arrested on Friday over a social media post allegedly intended to outrage religious beliefs after the alleged discovery of ‘Shivling’ inside the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi, on furnishing a bond of ₹50,000 and surety on the like amount. Lal was produced before the Tis Hazari Court, which granted him the bail.
The court, however, directed Lal to strictly refrain from posting any social media posts or interviews regarding the ‘shivling’ controversy.
An FIR was lodged against Lal, a Hindu College associate professor, on Tuesday night based on a complaint filed by a Delhi-based lawyer. In his complaint, advocate Vineet Jindal said the professor had recently shared a "derogatory, inciting and provocating tweet on the Shivling".
He was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion).
On Saturday, Left-affiliated All India Students Association (AISA) activists staged a protest outside Delhi University's Arts Faculty against the arrest of the Hindu College associate professor.
The student activists held placards that read: "Stop attack on our teachers", "Stop curbing democratic voices" and "Release professor Ratan Lal".
There was a heavy deployment of police during the protest. Apart from the district police, four companies from an outside force, including women personnel, have been put in place, police said.
Lal had earlier said he had simply posed a question as a student of history. “People can be hurt by anything. Academic discourse cannot be sidelined on account of perceived hurt. I had asked a simple question to enquire if the so-called shivling was broken or cut. Mullahs and Pandits don’t need to comment on it. An art historian should answer this question,” said Lal.
(With inputs from agencies)