SP Leader Azam Khan Gets Two-Year Jail in Another Hate Speech Case

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The development is seen as another setback for the Samajwadi Party, part of the opposition group that has been gearing up to take on the ruling BJP in the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan was on Saturday awarded a two-year jail term in a hate speech case registered against him during campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The case against Khan, a ten-term MLA from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh and former member of Lok Sabha, was registered for derogatory remarks against the then Rampur district magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2019 when he contested the election as the candidate of the shortlived alliance between the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The MP/MLA court sentenced Khan for making the remarks while addressing a gathering in support of a candidate of the alliance in Rampur’s Dhanora.

The complaint against Khan was filed by Rampur district’s assistant development officer (Panchayat), Anil Kumar Chauhan, at Shahjad Nagar police station after a video clip of Khan’s speech went viral.

This is seen as another setback for SP, part of the opposition group that has been gearing up to take on the ruling BJP in the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier, Khan was convicted in another case of hate speech in 2019 and sentenced to three years in jail by an MP-MLA magistrate court last October. It led to his disqualification from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly two days later.

However, a sessions court designated to try parliamentarians and legislators in Rampur in May this year overturned the conviction and acquitted Khan in the case. After his disqualification from the assembly, a bypoll was held in the Rampur Sadar seat. BJP’s Akash Saxena, the complainant in the alleged hate speech case, defeated Khan’s close aide and SP candidate Asim Raja.

The acquittal did not help Khan since he and his son Abdullah Azam Khan were also convicted and sentenced to two years in jail on February 14 by a Moradabad court in connection with a 2008 case for assaulting public servants in the district’s Chhajlet area.

The 2008 incident took place soon after Azam Khan’s vehicle was stopped by the police for routine checking.

Khan was released from Sitapur district jail in May 2022 after remaining behind bars for 27 months after the Supreme Court granted him bail in a land-grab case. He walked out of prison after receiving bail in all 81 cases lodged against him.

Provisional security

Meanwhile, in another significant development, a day after his Y-category security cover was withdrawn by the state government, Khan has now been given “provisional security,” according to police.

An officer said the decision was reappraised and it was decided to give Khan a security cover at the district level.

“This security is not a Y-category security cover. Under this arrangement, three gunners will be provided to him,” the police officer added. (With inputs from IANS)

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