Court relief for two newspaper vendors in Avadhnama case

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Avadhnama-caseA local court discharged the two newspaper vendors, arrested for allegedly selling the copies of Urdu daily ‘Avadhnama’ which had reprinted a cartoon from the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’.

City police arrested Ahmad Shaikh and Salman Kalam Shaikh on February 4 under section 295 A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal code. The action led to widespread outrage.

The French magazine had been a target of terrorist attack last month for publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammad.

“The accused are discharged,” said Additional Metropolitan Magistrate A A Kulkarni after the police said they did not have sufficient evidence against them.

Earlier, Mumbra police in neighbouring Thane had arrested Shirin Dalvi, editor of Avadhnama. She later got bail but the owner of the daily closed it down after printing an apology.

Dalvi also faced FIR at N M Joshi Marg police station here, following which she approached the sessions court last week to seek anticipatory bail.

On February 9 the Bombay High court restrained Maharashtra government and police from taking any coercive steps, including arrest, against her.