New Delhi, March 07, 2020: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Karnataka High Court order granting bail to 21 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) accused of violence in Mangaluru on December 19 during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Two persons were killed after the protests against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) turned violent. Hundreds of people had defied prohibitory orders imposed by the state police across several cities including Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kalburgi, Hassan, Huballi and Dharwad. Dozens of policemen were injured in the calshes.
On February 17, the Karnataka High Court had granted bail to the accused on the pleas filed by Mohammed Ashik and 20 others hailing from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka. The Karnataka government which opposed the bail, moved the apex court.
On Friday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant issued notice to the accused after taking note of the appeal filed by Karnataka government against the grant of bail by the high court.
The High Court, while granting bail, had said that the records produced indicate that the “identity of the accused involved in the alleged incident appear to have been fixed on the basis of their affiliation to Popular Front of India (PFI) and they being members of the Muslim community”, according to PTI.
Earlier this year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had sent a note to the Union home ministry stating there was a link between protests against the citizenship law in different parts of the country and the PFI.
The PFI denies sponsoring the protests against the CAA that have rocked Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana in south India.