Karnataka

Bail granted to poet, editor

Siraj Bisaralli (in blue) and Rajabaxi with lawyers outside the court in Gangavathi, after release on Wednesday.  

Poet Siraj Bisaralli and editor Rajabaxi H.V., who were booked and taken into custody in connection with the recitation of a poem that criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), were granted bail by the Principal Civil (Junior Division) and JMFC Court at Gangavathi in Koppal district on Wednesday.

The day also saw Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy reciting Mr. Bisaralli’s poem titled Ninna Daakhale Yaavaaga Needuti? (When will you give your documents?) in the Assembly to argue that nothing in it warranted the arrest of the poet. He cited several other poets in the past who have written critically of the State.

At the JMFC Court in Gangavathi, Maulasab Nadaf, the judge, granted the bail to the poet and the editor after they executed a personal bond for ₹50,000 with a surety for a like sum.

Mr. Bisaralli, a Koppal-based poet and journalist, was booked for reciting the poem at the State-sponsored Anegundi Utsav on January 9 and Mr. Rajabaxi, editor of news portal kannadanet.com, for sharing the recitation on a social media platform. The two were absconding since January 24 when the case under Section 505(2) of Indian Penal Code was booked against them following a complaint by BJP Yuva Morcha general secretary Shivakumar Arikeri. They surrendered before the court on Tuesday and moved an interim bail.

As many as 30 advocates appeared for the accused in a show of solidarity on Tuesday. The court rejected their bail plea and sent them to police custody for a day. They were produced before the court on Wednesday and they secured bail.

Mr. Bisaralli told The Hindu that the State’s attempt to suppress his freedom of speech had only strengthened him further. “I am overwhelmed by the way the civil society has responded to the issue. I have been in activism for over a decade now and I will continue to express myself as always,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 6:14:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bail-granted-to-poet-editor-in-poem-recitation-case/article30861200.ece

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