Deep Sidhu Gets Bail in the Republic Day Violence Case

A Delhi court has granted bail to actor-activist Deep Sidhu who was arrested in February 2021 in connection with the violence at the Red Fort on Republic Day.

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Actor-activist Deep Sidhu who was arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the violence at the Red Fort during farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, has been granted bail by a Delhi court.

Deep Sidhu was arrested in February from Karnal in Haryana by the Delhi Police Special Cell days after a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to his arrest was announced. He was accused by farmer leaders of trying to derail their protest against three controversial farm laws.

A Delhi court had on Monday reserved its order on the bail application of Deep Sidhu after the two sides, the actor activist’s counsel and the public prosecutor representing the Delhi police, argued over his role in the violence at the Red Fort on January 26 during the protesting farmers’ tractor rally.

A Delhi court granted him bail on conditions of signing a “personal bond with two sureties of ₹ 30,000 each”. He has also been asked to submit his passport and “cooperate” with investigating officers.

Deep Sidhu’s counsel told the court that mere presence did not make him part of an unlawful assembly and that he was an honest citizen who was part of a protest. The public prosecutor, however, claimed that Deep Sidhu participated in the protest with the intention to create violence and that he was the main instigator of unlawful assembly.

“While it is beyond the realm of dispute that dissent and dialogue is fundamental to democracy where the absolute power vests in the people exercised by the people through its elected representatives and that the Constitution of India guarantees the right to protest, the present FIR (First Information Report) however is not impinging upon his fundamental Right to Protest in any manner,” a Delhi court said in its order.

Deep Sidhu was accused of fueling chaos and clashes as protesters went rogue on January 26 and defied agreed routes and schedules, forcing their way into the Red Fort. Police, who repeatedly appealed for calm and urged protesting farmers to stand down and return to the agreed routes, resorted to tear gas and lathi charges to regain control.

Last week, his lawyer told a Delhi court that “there is no evidence that he mobilised the crowd to Red Fort and called for the protest”. “The call for protest was by farmer leaders, I’m not a member of farmer union, no call was given by me to go to Red Fort. There is no evidence that I have mobilised the crowd,” Deep Sidhu’s lawyer told the court on his behalf.

“He has not indulged in a single act of violence. He left even before violence erupted. He was even helping the police, he hasn’t been a part of violence. Only people who have indulged in violence can be prosecuted. Mere presence does not make him a part of unlawful assembly,” argued the lawyer.

Shortly after the violence on Republic Day, Deep Sidhu had posted videos on Facebook defending himself even as teams of the Delhi Police’s crime branch were looking for him.

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