Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested in Dec 2015 for insulting a certain religion’s prophet and has been in jail since then because NSA (National Security Act) was slapped on him which has prevented his bail until now. The case is closely connected with the insulting comment by Azam Khan of Samajwadi Party in which he inferred that RSS is an organization of gay men. As per this interview of Kamlesh Tiwari’s wife and legal counsel, Tiwari actually shot back in anger at Azam Khan in a private meeting or private text which was probably leaked in public.
New facts have come out in Kamlesh Tiwari’s case which point out that he is deliberately kept inside prison, may be until UP assembly elections are over. In response to the writ petition filed by his wife, Kiran Tiwari in Allahabad court, the bench of judges has questioned the district authorities on why the National Security Act has been applied on Kamlesh Tiwari for a period of one year. As per the law, NSA can be applied only for a period of 3 months at one point of time; it can be extended after the 3 months have lapsed and all extensions can amount to a total of 1 year.
So it seems that that the district and state administration were in a hurry to ensure that Tiwari stays inside the jail. Also, the Forensic Science Lab which was told to authenticate the alleged press release by Tiwari, in which he had referred to the Prophet of Islam insultingly, has refused to conduct further inquiry into it. The lab has commented that it was never sent the original copy/ text of the alleged press release and only a hand typed copy of it was sent. Any authentic inquiry is not possible with that kind of secondary evidence.
With the way the case is going, it seems clear that there is no real evidence of any sort to keep Kamlesh Tiwari detained. The legal counsel of Tiwari, Harishankar Jain spoke to Hindupost :
“Application of NSA has become a joke. It is being grossly misused and applied on anyone who is not wanted outside prison. If you see the proof that the SHO/ state govt has submitted of the press release, it is a typed copy! Later they managed to bring a photocopy from some local tabloid whose name is not even known. Neither the original, nor a photocopy of the original has been submitted. In the typed copy, there is no signature of Kamlesh Tiwari. Where is the original mail copy, or whats app message or signed letter head copy? Where are the newspaper cuttings? Why was proper proof not asked by magistrate before slapping NSA? Kamlesh Tiwari has fallen victim to the politics of polarization and vote bank appeasement“.
Many people think that probably it is safer for Kamlesh Tiwari to be in jail as there were massive protests around the country asking for him to be hanged/beheaded. Many fatwas were released for his head. However, in the wake of the fact that, if proven, this is at most a case of responsive verbal vigilantism, application of NSA clubbed with hate speech laws looks extremely draconian and regressive given an individual’s freedom of speech in a private gathering.