Farmers' protest: Journalist Mandeep Punia arrested at Singhu border granted bail
A local court in Delhi on Tuesday granted bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia, who was arrested by the Delhi Police on January 30 from Singhu border where farmers are protesting against the three farm laws. The court has granted Punia the bail on the condition that he will furnish the bail sum of ₹25,000 and said he must not jump the bail and appear before it regularly. He was also asked not to leave the country without the permission of the court.
"It is well settled legal principle of law that bail is a rule and jail is an exception," the court had said while granting bail to the journalist.
Punia was arrested on the grounds of misbehaving with the police personnel on duty and obstructing a public servant from discharging its duties during the farmers' protest at the Singhu border. He was arrested while covering the clashes that broke out at the protest site last week.
Under the section 186 (obstructing public servant in the discharge of public functions) and section 353 (assaulting a public servant in the execution of duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), an FIR was filed against the journalist at the Alipur police station.
Order on Punia's bail plea was reserved by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba on Monday. The Delhi Police had opposed the bail plea saying that the journalist may attempt to provoke protestors and create a disturbance at the site.
The Editors Guild of India on Monday had demanded the release of the journalist and claimed that the arrest was an attempt to curtail the voices of independent journalists that were working towards fighting fake news.
The freelance journalist has been covering the farmers' protest that has been going on since November 26 last year. The protest has been ongoing around the border areas of Delhi and farmers have been demanding the repeal of the three farm laws that were passed by Parliament in September last year.
Farmers are agitating against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 since November 26, 2020.