File objections on bail application by September 13: Court directs police


A local court here on Monday directed prosecution to file objections to bail application filed by journalist Aasif Sultan. 
The court issued the direction after defence counsel, advocate Mir Shafkat Hussain and advocate Mir Urfi moved bail application before the court of additional sessions judge Srinagar.
Advocate Mir Shafkat Hussain pleaded before the court that the right to freedom of expression has received a “serious dent” as the accused has been victimized for expressing his views.”
Referring to the report submitted by police before the court in connection with Sultan’s arrest, advocate Mir Shafkat submitted that the report has “very vague allegation and there is nothing concrete on record whereby my clients involvement in the offence can be inferred.”
“According to police report, the accused has allegedly glorified militant activity of Hizbul Mujahidin and has played a role in instigating youth to join the outfit.  It is apt to mention here that this allegation is complete fallacy of facts and he has never indulged in any such activity,” he said.
He further pleaded that there is nothing on record whereby this allegation can be proved. “Aasif Sultan is a journalist and he has duty to report things in the real manner. The arrest of my client has resulted in infringement of his right to expression.”
He claimed that Sultan was taken into custody from his home at Batamaloo between the intervening night of 27/28 August 2018 “without any cause and justification.” 
“My client was incarcerated at police station Batamaloo without any legal justification for six days and after that he was implicated in a case to which he has neither any direct nor indirect nexus with,” he said. 
Quoting various Supreme Court judgments and other provisions of law, advocate Mir Shafkat prayed for the granting of bail in favour of Sultan.  “Prosecution has nothing to link my client with the commission of crime as the case is based on circumstantial evidence,” he said.
After hearing the defence counsels, the court directed prosecution to file objections against bail application, by or before 13 September. The police in its report to the court had accused Sultan of ‘glorifying’ militants in his news reports. “We have seized Aasif’s mobile phone and laptop and sent these to forensic laboratory in Chandigarh for examination and further action would be taken under rules once the report is received,” it added.  Sultan’s family and his organization have refuted the charges.

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