Sharjeel Usmani moves Bombay HC to quash FIR over Elgar Parishad speech

Muslim student leader and Fraternity Movement national secretary Sharjeel Usmani has approached the Bombay High Court for quashing the FIR registered against him in Pune for his speech at Elgar Parishad 2021 edition.

Last month, the Pune Police booked Usmani under Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, at the Swargate Police Station in Pune. The FIR was registered based on the compliant by the secretary of the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, Pradeep Gawade. Gawde is a former member of ABVP, students body of Hindu militant group RSS. The saffron groups alleged that Usmani made offensive statements against the ‘Hindu community,’ ‘Indian Judiciary’ and ‘parliament’.

While denying the allegations, Usmani said in his petition that the FIR is frivolous, baseless and has been registered on the basis of a select few statements taken “out of context.”

“It is a settled position of law that the effects of that words must be judge from the standards of reasonable, strong-minded, firm and courageous men and not those who scent danger in every hostile point of view,” the student leader said.

According to Usmani, the FIR does not disclose any intention to incite people to violence, to attract sections of 153A of the IPC.

The petition by Usmani further states the FIR is a protracted modus operandi of misrepresenting what is said, with social media.

“This modus operandi is targeted at those who seek, within the construct of constitutional protection, to identify the ills that plague the nation and offer course correction,” legal website Live Law quoted Usmani’s petition.

In February, another FIR under several charges, including sedition, has been registered by Uttar Pradesh police against Usmani in Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station.

Following the FIRs and hate campaigns against Usmani over his speech at Elgar Parishad 2021 edition, the organisers of the Elgar Parishad has released a statement in support of Usmani and said: “We condemn those Brahminvadi’s who have targeted, abused, made threats to life, and burnt effigies of Sharjeel Usmani by crudely reducing him just to his Muslim identity. We are firmly standing with Sharjeel Usmani. Here we are declaring that we will intensify our efforts to struggle for annihilation of caste-class-patriarchy and Islamophobia.”

The Fraternity Movement also condemned the hate campaigns and registration of FIRs against its national secretary, saying “these perpetual hate campaigns are intended to languish the vocal Muslim youth in jail permanently.”

The students’ body’s national committee in a statement demanded that the cases be rescinded.

Watch his full speech at Elgar Parishad