Hours before his court-mandated deadline to leave Delhi, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad addressed a press conference today in which he urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "respect the Constitution". Chandrashekhar Azad, a.k.a. Raavan, also read out the preamble to the Constitution, saying he wanted the whole world to listen to the "inciting speech" that he was accused of making when he was arrested last month.
Chandrashekar Azad's comments came after he was told by a Delhi court on Wednesday that while his right to protest peacefully would be upheld by the law, in turn, he ought not to disrespect the Prime Minister and his post.
"To Modi-ji, I respect you... (but) you should respect the Constitution. Ours is the best Constitution in the world," he responded today, after saying, "Do you want to listen to my inciting speech that I delivered earlier... it's in this book called Constitution...".
Earlier today, Chandrashekhar Azad, who had till 9 pm to adhere to terms of his bail and leave the national capital for four weeks, appeared at Jama Masjid during Friday prayers and led a protest - where too he read out the preamble - against the citizenship law.
Standing on the steps of the mosque with hundreds of protesters, he also praised the women participating in the month-long sit-in protest at the city's Shaheen Bagh area, which have become the focal point of protests against the citizenship law.
Chandrashekhar Azad, 33, was released on bail around 9 pm last evening, almost a month after his arrest on December 21 over a protest at Jama Masjid the day before.
A court granted him bail on condition he leaves Delhi within 24 hours and stays away for four weeks. He has filed an appeal in court to modify the conditions of his bail. The matter will be heard on Saturday.
While giving him bail Judge Kamini Lau quoted from Rabindranath Tagore's ''Where the Mind is Without Fear'' and said citizens have a fundamental right to peaceful protests, which cannot be curtailed by the state.
"There is no evidence that Azad indulged in violence or inflammatory speech. The only thing he read was the preamble to the constitution, which is a sacred document," she added.
The Bhim Army chief visited a temple this morning and plans to go to the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and a church, making the most of his limited time in Delhi before 9 pm.
There have been nationwide protests against the CAA, which critics say discriminates against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution. The government says the CAA will help non-Muslim minorities from three Muslim-dominated neighbours - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh - to become Indian citizens easily if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution.