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Interim bail granted to publisher of Jesus image
Correspondent SHILLONG, MAR 9
Published on 10 Mar. 2010 12:14 AM IST
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The Shillong Bench of Gauhati High Court has granted ten days interim bail to Indra Mohan Jha, a New Delhi-based publisher for publishing a blasphemous image of Jesus – holding a beer can and a cigarette – in a school textbook. The image appeared in a handwriting book for children in church-run schools where it was used to illustrate the letter “I” for the word “Idol”. On March 5, Justice BD Agarwal granted an interim bail to Jha after his lawyer, SG Momin appealed to the Court that her client had already tendered a public apology on the offensive photographs of Jesus besides taking all steps to withdraw the offensive exercise books from the market without any delay. Momin added: “the offensive picture was taken from a website and the publisher’s artist and designer failed to take care that the picture of Jesus was not suitable for publication.” She further pleaded that the picture was published employees without any malafide intention to offend the sentiments of any religion or person’s having faith in Jesus Christ. In his judgement, Justice Agarwal noted that “it is a fit case wherein interim protection can be granted.” Accordingly, the Judge directed the investigating officer to release the petitioner on bail of Rs.25,000/- with one local surety of the same amount in the event of his arrest in connection with the above case. The Judge also fixed March 15 as the next date of hearing wherein the case diary will also be produced. It may be reminded that a team of Meghalaya Police was sent to New Delhi last February to apprehend Jha. However, on March 5 the team had to return empty handed. The blasphemous picture of Jesus Christ created a furore in Meghalaya, and condemnations poured in from various religious heads and social organisations.

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