Bombay high court refuses to disallow Pak scholar from speaking in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Observing that people have now become wiser and are unlikely to indulge in communal violence upon instigation, the Bombay high court today refused to restrain Pakistani scholar Tahirul Qadri from delivering a lecture in Mumbai this evening.

"Even after the verdict of Ayodhya (by Allahabad high court) there was no untoward incident, people have now become wise. We do not think they would get swayed or instigated," said the division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode.

City-based organisation Raza Academy had sought directions to the police to restrain Qadri from entering Mumbai and addressing a gathering.

Academy's petition said that Qadri might deliver speech against India, particularly on Kashmir issue, which might hurt the sentiments of the public and result in communal violence.

Qadri is to address two gatherings - one this evening in south Mumbai and another on March 17.

Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol informed the court that the police have given permission to organisers, Minhaj-ul-Quran.

"The highest authority is monitoring the lecture and no law and order situation would arise," Pol said.

The organisers have also given an undertaking that the speech will not be anti-India, and a transcript of the entire lecture will be submitted to the high court on the next date of hearing, i.e. next Friday.

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