The Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted bail to Indian Secular Front (ISF) MLA Naushad Siddique, who was arrested by the Kolkata Police on January 21. A Division Bench of Justices Debangsu Basak and Md. Shabbar Rashidi granted bail to the ISF MLA in connection with four cases registered across three police stations in the city.
Mr. Siddique was behind bars in connection with First Information Reports (FIR) filed at the New Market Police Station, the Hare Street Police Station, and two cases at the Kolkata Leather Complex Police Station.
The court gave different reasons for granting bail to the MLA in different cases. For instance, in relation with the case registered at the Hare Street Police Station, the court observed, “At this stage, State is unable to demonstrate that the petitioner indulged in inciting the crowd to assault the police or to indulge in destruction of public property. Petitioner is in custody for 40 days.”
In connection with another case at the New Market Police Station, the court said, “The materials in the case diary, at this stage, do not suggest requirement of further detention of the petitioner. State is unable to draw our attention to any material in the case diary to suggest that the petitioner assaulted any police personnel or undertook any destruction of public property.” In each case, the court granted bail on the condition of furnishing a bail bond of ₹10,000.
The arrest and subsequent detention of Mr. Siddique, who represents the Bhangar Assembly seat in South 24 Parganas district, had emerged as a political issue with parties in the opposition alleging that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government was using the police to put him behind bars. The Trinamool leadership had alleged that the MLA was working with the BJP.
On January 21, clashes erupted between ISF supporters and Trinamool Congress workers at Bhangar. The violence later spilled on the streets of Kolkata and several policemen were injured in the violence.
Mr. Siddique, the brother of popular pir (religious leader) Abbas Siddique, is the only MLA in the State Assembly who represents neither the Trinamool Congress nor the BJP. The ISF was set up ahead of 2021 Assembly polls and the party entered into alliance with the Left parties and Congress.