After eight cases, preventive detention and 21 months of incarceration, Javed Mohammad was released from a jail in Uttar Pradesh on 16 March 2024. While the police said he was the “mastermind” of the violence that erupted in Prayagraj on 10 June 2022 and bulldozed his house, judges who granted the social activist bail in eight cases found no evidence he had committed any crime. In this interview, the 58-year-old spoke of the violence and humiliation he suffered and his continuing faith in the judiciary.

Social activist Javed Mohammad, jailed in connection with violence in Prayagraj on 10 June 2022, was released after 21 months in prison/ JAVED MOHAMMAD’S FA

By Betwa Sharma

Delhi: In August 2023, after Javed Mohammad received bail in the last of the eight cases the UP police had filed against him under the Indian Penal Code, 1860,  the 58-year-old social activist was booked under the Gangsters and Anti Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, prolonging his incarceration for many months. 

Justice Vikram D Chauhan, granting him bail on 5 February 2024, said the allegations were “vague in nature,” and the police had disclosed “no specific instance” to show he was the leader or organiser of a gang. There was no “factual foundation” to proceed under the Act. 

The judge wrote, “General allegations without material particulars and evidence against the applicant could not by itself be a ground to deny bail to the applicant in view of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” 

Still, Mohammad was not released from Deoria district jail, where he had been incarcerated for close to two years after the UP police accused him of masterminding the violence that erupted in Prayagraj on 10 June 2022 over remarks that a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nupur Sharma, made about the Prophet Mohammad. 

A month after the Allahabad High Court granted him bail and while he was waiting to be released, the UP police invoked the Arms Act, 1959, alleging two pistols were recovered from his house when the district administration demolished it on 12 June 2022, two days after the violence without due process or investigation. 

In a recent interview, Mohammad said his lawyer said the police were repeating the allegation after 21 months to keep him in jail. 

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