Tamil Nadu: 'Can Plot To Kill RSS Leaders Be Termed As Terrorist Act?' Asks Madras HC

Tamil Nadu: 'Can Plot To Kill RSS Leaders Be Termed As Terrorist Act?' Asks Madras HC

This question has been posed by a Division Bench of Justices S S Sundar and Sunder Mohan of the Madras High Court while granting bail to a man Asif Musthaheen, against whom a case was registered under the UAPA by the Erode police in western Tamil Nadu

N ChithraUpdated: Thursday, December 14, 2023, 07:57 PM IST
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Madras HC | Photo: Representative Image

Chennai: Could a plot to kill leaders of RSS and its affiliate organisations be considered a terrorist act under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act? This question has been posed by a Division Bench of Justices S S Sundar and Sunder Mohan of the Madras High Court while granting bail to a man Asif Musthaheen, against whom a case was registered under the UAPA by the Erode police in western Tamil Nadu.

“The question as to whether the killing of Hindu religious leaders by itself can constitute a terrorist act is debatable,” the judges said adding, “the respondent (Erode police) has not spelt out how a conspiracy to attack certain religious leaders would amount to a terrorist act as defined under Section 15 of UAPA.”

Section 15 of the UAPA

The judges questioned if a conspiracy to kill leaders of RSS, BJP or Hindu religious leaders could be deemed a terrorist act. They argued that an act would fall under Section 15 of the UAPA, if it had been committed “with an intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security or sovereignty of the country.” Alternatively, the person must have committed act with an intent to “strike terror” or likely to strike terror among the people in general or any section of the people either in India or in any foreign country.

In the instant cast, Asif was arrested in July last year on charges of “conspiring” to kill some members of Hindu outfits.

“Considering the broad probabilities of the case from the materials collected by the prosecution, one cannot definitely conclude that there was a conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, though there is a conspiracy to commit other illegal acts including serious offences,” the court said and granted bail to him.

'Messages don’t indicate joining IS': Court

The judges rejected the prosecution’s argument that Asif had shared translation of some Arabic text messages with a co-accused in the case. These messages don’t indicate he joined the IS, the court said.

“Proximity to an individual is different from associating oneself with or professing to be associated with the terrorist association to further its activities,” the court said. “Therefore, we are of the prima facie view that the offence under Section 38(2) (being a member of a terrorist organisation) of the UAPA, too has not been made out,” the judges concluded.

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