Deep Sidhu, accused in the Red Fort violence case in connection with the farmer's tractor rally on Republic Day, informed a Delhi Court on Thursday that "merely shouting common spiritual slogans or presence at the Red Fort cannot make him a part of the unlawful assembly."
Additional Sessions Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen was hearing the bail application filed by Deep Sidhu who has been accused of instigating violence as being the alleged "main instigator" in the case by the prosecution.
Advocate Abhishek Gupta appearing on behalf of the accused, Deep Sidhu, submitted before the Court:
"It's just a video. I can show the video. Slogans like 'Jo Bole So Nihaal' are said in various Gurdwaras and it's a common religious slogan. These are common slogans like 'Jai Shree Ram'. I don't understand how can reciting such spiritual slogans can be termed as a crime."
Furthermore, Advocate Gupta also submitted before the Court that there is nothing for the Prosecution to prove that Sidhu had any role in instigating the crowd or that he had the mens rea to cause violence at the Red Fort.
"This is a settled law of unlawful assembly that mere presence of a person cannot make him a part of unlawful assembly. I was trying to pacify the crowd and help the police. I've given the interview also. Everything is with the police." Advocate Gupta submitted.
Arguing that it is the fundamental right of every person to participate in peaceful protest, Gupta submitted before the Court that he was trying to "pacify the crowd" and that there cannot be any question of instigation, criminal conspiracy or him being part of the unlawful assembly. Gupta argued this:
"They have to show whether I indulged in violence or whether I instigated others to indulge in violence. They have nothing to show to prove my role on these two aspects. No proof of showing that I instigated or that I had mens rea."
Rebutting this, the Public Prosecutor appearing on behalf of the State submitted this:
"Attacking on police officials started after he reached there. Then he started addressing the crowd even louder. He started instigating the crowd. When Red Fort was not there in the prescribed route, then how did Red Fort come into picture? If their motive was to peacefully protest against the farm laws, then why did he go there? His agenda was only to defame India, nationally and even internationally. This was the only agenda of going to the Red Fort. Do the police officials who are on duty do not have any fundamental rights? Is it valid to commit violence in the name of fundamental rights? Is it valid to defame India in the name of fundamental rights?"
Submitting that Deep Sidhu being a popular Punjabi Actor, was being falsely implicated in the case, Gupta further submitted:
"I came there much later. Entire route and phone records are verified by the investigating agency. No act of violence has been committed by me. Let them point out, they have the cctv footage. No act of violence on record. The violence started after I left. I was trying to pacify the crowd. There are some videos also from which it can be seen that I was trying to pacify the crowd. He is a possible known case. He has acted in various punjabi movies. He was at a wrong place at the wrong time."
"It's a matter of common knowledge that various newspapers specially in Delhi labelled me as a primary accused. This is a matter of public record. I was labelled by media as chief instigator, I don't know how. Investigating agencies announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh. Investigating agencies should not go by what these newspapers and individuals reported. I have been a lawyer from 2003 to 2015, I have been a popular Punjabi actor. I am not required anymore for the investigation. I have a daughter and wife in Mumbai. There is also a ground of parity." Gupta further submitted.
In view of the submissions, the Court while recording the submissions, asked the parties to submit transcripts of the alleged speeches made by Deep Sidhu as contended by the Prosecution. The matter will continue to be heard on 12th April.
About the Case
An FIR was registered against Deep Sidhu by the Crime Branch (Central Delhi) of the Delhi Police in connection with the violence that broke out at Red Fort on Republic Day under sec. 147, 148, 149, 152, 186, 353, 332, 307, 308, 395, 397, 427 and 188 of the IPC read with sec. 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act, 1959 and sec. 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984. Sidhu has been accused of instigating violence as being the alleged "main instigator" in the case.
In other news, CMM Gajendra Singh Nagar vide order dated 26th February 2021 directed the police officials to conduct fair and impartial investigation to 'unearth the truth' in the matter regarding Sidhu's involvement in the case. The development came after Advocate Abhishek Gupta had moved an application in the Court seeking directions to the investigating agency to call, preserve and make part of the investigation the other records and material pertaining to the case.
During the course of hearing, it was submitted by Advocate Gupta appearing for Sidhu that "I never urged people to go to the Red Fort. Nor did I call anyone to gather at the Red Fort. You have all the videos. Wheareas there are videos of other people also asking to come at the Red Fort. They have considered my video but they must also consider videos of others too. I am not the main accused. Before I reached there, people had already broken the barricades. I was trying to pacify the crowd and help the police."
However, another application was also moved by Deep Sidhu seeking security in jail premises which was withdrawn after Advocate Gupta informed the judge that Sidhu was already being kept in a separate cell.