Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, leaders of Opposition in the legislative assembly and the council, respectively, had demanded that Usmani be booked under sedition charges for his statements
PUNE — Following a demand for legal action by the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Maharashtra Police have booked student activist Sharjeel Usmani for his speech at Elgar Parishad in Pune last week. The police have charged Usmani of inciting communal passions by his remarks that have been dubbed as “anti-Hindu” by BJP.
The Swargate Police Station have filed a First Information Report (FIR) based on a complaint by a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha secretary, Advocate Pradeep Gawade, on Tuesday.
Usmani, a student leader of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), while speaking at the Parishad event had said: “In today’s Hindustan mein Hindu Samaj buri tarike se sadd chukka hai (The Hindu community has badly degenerated in today’s India)”.
These remarks reportedly angered BJP leaders who demanded action and filed the police complaint.
The police while registering the FIR invoked Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code Sec. which concerns offences related to spreading communal hatred.
Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, leaders of Opposition in the legislative assembly and the council, respectively, had demanded that Usmani be booked under sedition charges for his statements. They had warned of a statewide strike in case the police did not accept their demands.
State Food & Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal had slammed Usmani’s remarks while Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had assured that if anything objectionable was found in the student activist’s utterances, suitable action would be taken.
Usmani had earlier been arrested and jailed by the Uttar Pradesh government for his alleged role in the clashes that erupted outside the AMU campus during the CAA-NRC agitation in December 2019.
However, some activists slammed the police action and came out in support of Usmani.
Solidarity with @SharjeelUsmani .
BJP filed an FIR against him in Pune because he talked about radicalization of Hindu Society.
Let’s see if “Secular govt” of Maharashtra will protect him or not.
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) February 3, 2021
Stay safe @SharjeelUsmani. I hope those who disagree with you have the courage and conviction of engaging in a debate instead of resorting to threats and bullying.
— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) February 2, 2021
Others who spoke at the conference included author Arundhati Roy, ex-IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, ex-judge B. G. Kolse-Patil and retired IPS officer S.M. Mushrif.
The second annual Elgar Parishad was organised by the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan, on Januiary 30, to coincide with the 5th death anniversary of the late Dalit scholar from University of Hyderabad, Rohith Vemula, whose suicide on January 17, 2016 had triggered uproar.
The Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan had organised the first Elgaar Parishad at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, a day before the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
(With inputs from IANS)