The Pune Police on Tuesday booked Muslim student activist and Fraternity Movement national secretary Sharjeel Usmani under Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, at the Swargate Police Station in Pune, for his speech at 2021’s edition of Elgar Parishad.
Usmani was charged following a complaint by a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing, the Yuva Morcha.
“We’ve requested the police to also lodge a case against him u/s 124-A, IPC as he clearly stated he didn’t believe in the Indian state, Parliament and judiciary. We also said a case should be lodged against the organisers of Elgar Parishad.” ANI quoted the complainant and BJP leader Pradip Gawade as saying.
Former Maharashtra CM and senior BJP politician Devendra Fadnavis had written a letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray demanding action against Usmani.
Usmani was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police last year for taking part in protests against the proposed NRC and CAA in Aligarh Muslim University on December 15. He is currently out on bail.
According to Hindustan Times, BJP’s Kandivli MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar also filed a complaint against Usmani at Dindoshi police station.
Usmani has been at the forefront face of the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests and he is a vocal critic of the BJP government.
Former Aligarh Muslim University student has been a target of Hindutva leaders and right wing media including Republic TV, Times Now, Zee News and OpIndia for his dissenting views.
The Elgaar Parishad was organised in Pune on January 30 by Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Rohit Vemula. The Parishad has become an important event for the last three years after the Maharashtra Police accused its organisers – a coalition of 250 anti-caste and human rights organisations – of allegedly instigating violence in Pune’s Bhima Koregaon area on January 1, 2018.
Besides Usmani, other key speakers at the Parishad this year included author Arundhati Roy, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, journalist Prashant Kanojia, Dalit activist Satyabhama Suryawanshi, student activist Aysha Renna, family members of Payal Tadvi, Sanjiv Bhatt and Rohit Vemula, retired High Court judge BG Kolse Patil and retired Indian Police Services officer SM Mushrif, among others.
Watch Usmani’s full speech here: