Book Sharjeel Usmani for sedition, demands Maha BJP
Mumbai, Feb 2 (IANS) The Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday demanded that the state government should immediately book student leader Sharjeel Usmani for his ‘anti-Hindu’ remarks at the recent Elgar Parishad held in Pune.
Training guns on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis wrote a letter demanding an FIR invoking sedition charges against the student leader from the Aligarh Muslim University for his ‘inflammatory’ and ‘defamatory’ utterances against Hindus.
Speaking at the Elgar Parishad in Pune on January 30, Usmani said: “Aaj ka Hindu Samaj Hindustan mein buri tarike se sadd chukka hai (The Hindu community has badly degenerated in today’s India),” sparking off a furore in the political circles.
When asked, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the speeches at the conference will be scrutinised by the Maharashtra police.
“If anything objectionable is found, we shall take action accordingly. However, I can’t comment more as the police investigation is underway,” Deshmukh told mediapersons.
Besides Fadnavis, other leaders like Ram Kadam, Atul Bhatkalkar and Keshav Upadhye also questioned why no action has been taken against Usmani although three days have passed since the offensive remarks were uttered on a public platform.
Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal sought action against Usmani by asking: “If any Hindu leader had made a similar statement about the Muslim community, would it be tolerated?”
In his letter to Thackeray, Fadnavis said that given the background of the Elgar Parishad and the Bhima-Koregaon incidents of January 1, 2018 and the subsequent caste riots that year, it was wrong to grant permission for the conference.
“We shall not tolerate if anyone speaking such things in the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who laid the foundation of the ‘Hindavi Swaraj’. We will not keep quiet on this,” warned Fadnavis.
The state BJP has served a 48-hour ultimatum to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to act against Usmani, failing which it would launch a statewide agitation.
Usmani had earlier been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police for his alleged role in the clashes that erupted outside the AMU campus during the anti CAA-NRC agitation in 2019.
The annual Elgar Parishad was organised by the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan on January 30 to coincide with the fifth death anniversary of late Dalit scholar from the University of Hyderabad, Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on January 17, 2016.
Others who attended or addressed the conference included writer-activist Arundhati Roy, ex-IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, ex-Judge B.G. Kolse-Patil and retired IPS officer S.M. Mushrif.
Complainst against Usmani have been filed in Mumbai and Pune, demanding an FIR against the student leader under different sections of the IPC.