Bail for man held for inciting Mumbai migrant mob

Man held for inciting April 14 Mumbai migrant mob gets bail

 Migrant workers gather outside Bandra West Railway Station as they defy lockdown norms and request to leave for their native places after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the extension of nationwide lockdown till May 3 in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Mumbai, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

A court in Mumbai on Tuesday granted bail to a man accused of inciting migrants to assemble outside Bandra railway station on April 14 in violation of lockdown norms in place for the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Vinay Dubey was granted bail on a cash surety of Rs 15,000 by metropolitan magistrate JY Ghule, his lawyer Deepak Mishra said.

On April 14, the last day of the first phase of the lockdown, several hundred migrants had assembled on the west side of Bandra suburban station demanding trains to take them to their native places, just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of the lockdown till May 3.

Police claimed Dubey's video and Facebook post incited the migrants, as he was heard in a video stating that the government must run trains by April 18 for migrant labourers or he would have to start an agitation or rally to get them home.

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Dubey was charged under sections 117, 153 A, 188, 269, 270 and 505 (2) of Indian Penal Code on charges of promoting enmity among different groups, abetting the commission of an offence by members of the public, and for negligence that could spread infections disease etc.

He was also charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Advocate Mishra claimed the police was wrong in slapping these charges on Dubey.

"Dubey had said in the video that an agitation would start on April 18. However, migrants gathered on April 14 itself. So how can my client be blamed for that?" he said.

He also told the court that the migrants had been able to gather at the station in such large numbers despite the lockdown because of the failure of the police and the state.

"They (migrants) were locals, who had gathered for money. How else could so many people have defied police and lockdown restrictions?" Mishra said.

In his bail plea, Dubey also said police erred in booking him under section 153 (A) of IPC on charges of promoting enmity, since invoking this section needs the prior sanction of the Union government, which he claimed the Mumbai police did not secure. 

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