Richa Bharati, 19, a first year student at a local college, was arrested on 13 July following a police complaint against her for allegedly sharing a post that allegedly hurt the sentiments of a minority community.
On Monday, Judge Manish Kumar Singh of the Jharkhand High Court, while granting bail to Bharati, added a rider, mandating her to distribute five copies of the Quran in government-owned educational institutions.
The young girl had shared a post allegedly asking why “only Muslims think of taking revenge and becoming terrorists”.
Soon after the order, a widespread protest erupted in different parts of the country, including in the state of Jharkhand, which has a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
"SHOCKING. Hindu woman ordered to distribute Quran as a condition for her bail. She refused. BRAVO. Imagine if a Muslim was ordered to distribute Gita as a condition for bail - our media would have cried SANGHI JUDICIARY for a week", said Anand Ranganathan, author and consulting editor of the news portal Swarajya, while arguing that everyone should stand with the girl, who has refused to follow this unusual order by the court.
Dear @AmitShah and @dasraghubar. The police under your shameless @BJP4India govt ARRESTED Ms Richa Bharti in the first place.— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) July 16, 2019
Hear this brave woman's words. You think you are powerful? WRONG. Your power stems from the State; hers from standing ALONE.https://t.co/FBXRAzhd0k
Another senior author, Shefali Vaidya, expressed her anger.
In India, Muzlims kick martyrs memorial, state does NOTHING, Muzlims rape, kill, desecrate temples, they get bail unconditionally. A Hindu woman, #RichaBharti is told to distribute Quran by a Hindu judge. #Shame pic.twitter.com/4O7Cm0oKOD— Shefali Vaidya ஷெஃபாலி வைத்யா शेफाली वैद्य (@ShefVaidya) July 16, 2019
"Do courts ask Muslim accused to do Ramayan or Durga paath?" Nupur J. Sharma, editor at OpIndia, asked while questioning the judgement.
Some Twitter users suggested that Richa file a counter-petition against the judgement.
Do not follow this disastrous decision richa, go for contempt of court. protection of self belief and protection of your religious belief is the power constitution gave you nd no one including that judge can keep you away from it. @rsprasad #RichaBharti pic.twitter.com/Bbeargy57U— Shubham (@Shubhamsharma_a) July 16, 2019
Political commentator Shehzad Jai Hind asked the court to grant her bail on normal conditions given to everyone else.
Ridiculous to order #RichaBharti to distribute Holy Book of a religion which isn't hers as a condition for bail! Give bail on normal conditions given to everyone! Would a Rahman be asked to recite Gita or distribute it? Why do this stuff?— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) July 16, 2019
Another senior journalist, Pradeep Bhandhari, extended his support for Richa's decision to oppose the court order, calling it an "infringement on faith". "This is anti-constitutional . Against Article 25", he added.
While #RichaBharati is told to distribute Quran over a FB Post,— Geetika Swami (@SwamiGeetika) July 16, 2019
West Bengal Police using force to stop people of BJYM from reciting Hanuman Chalisa on roads in Howrah.
This is called height of minority appeasement.#RichaBharti #SackManishSingh pic.twitter.com/l7bxlId5aS
Nevertheless, some people have supported the judgement, saying that this is in an effort to promote interfaith values.
An individual was arrested for sharing objectionable contents against a community on social media. Court grants her bail but orders her to donate 5copies of their Holy Book. Is it wrong to follow #GangaJamuniTehzib? Wrong to uphold #InterFaith values?— Mayukh Ranjan Ghosh (@mayukhrghosh) July 16, 2019
Comment & RT#RichaBharti