The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday allowed the Bhim Army to hold a meeting of its workers at Reshimbagh Ground in Nagpur on February 22 but imposed certain conditions. A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Madhav Jamdar said the petition of the Dalit outfit, seeking permission for the conclave, is allowed with conditions.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad is scheduled to address the meeting. Taking to Twitter Azad urged people to join the rally and carry the Indian flag to counter the saffron flag of the  Hindutva ideologues of RSS. “Fraud Nationalist organisation RSS which has never respected the tricolour, tomorrow we will unfurl the national flag in front of their headquarters.”

On Tuesday, the HC had issued notices to the Maharashtra government and the Nagpur police commissioner on the petition filed by a Bhim Army functionary.

The sprawling ground is close to the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Kotwali police had earlier denied permission for the gathering, citing law and order issues. After denial of permission, the Dalit group moved the high court here.

The petition, filed by Bhim Army Nagpur district chief Praful Shende through his lawyer Firdos Mirza, said the outfit had got permission from the CP and Berar Education Society, which controls the Nagpur Improvement Trusted-owned ground, for the meeting.

However, the Kotwali police station, under whose jurisdiction the ground falls, denied permission for the meet, citing law and order issues, the petition said. The plea sought direction from the HC to the state government and the police commissioner to grant permission to the Bhim Army to hold its workers’ meeting.

“Permission granted with conditions. It will be a workers’ meet only. It shall not be converted into a demonstration or protest.

“There should be no inflammatory speeches and the atmosphere should be peaceful. Besides, Chandrashekhar Azad should give an undertaking on the above conditions,” the court said in its operative order on Friday.

Any violation of the conditions will invite criminal action and contempt of court proceeding, the bench warned. The police department, in its affidavit filed in the court on Thursday, said the organisation is seeking permission to stage a protest against the Citizen (Amendment) Act and the National Register of citizens at a location that is near the RSS headquarters.

“The organisation of the petitioner holds an ideology which is different, contrary and diverse to the ideology being professed by the RSS,” the affidavit said. In such a scenario, the possibility of law and order situation being created at the center of the protest cannot be ruled out, the police said.

In December 2019, Bhim Army chief addressed a massive rally at Jama Masjid in New Delhi against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), following which he was arrested by Delhi police for violence that erupted at Daryaganj.