“No FIRs can curtail my right to speak against state-orchestrated tyranny,” Maskoor Usmani responds to Ghaziabad Police FIR

Maskoor Usmani

Speaking about the FIR registered against him along with other Congress politicians, journalist and social media giant Twitter by Ghaziabad Police over tweets in connection to the assault on an elderly Muslim man, Congress leader Maskoor Usmani said that no FIRs can curtail his right to speak against the “state-orchestrated tyranny being faced by any individual on the basis of caste, creed, community, and culture”.

Apart from Usmani, Congress leaders Salman Nizami and Dr Shama Mohammed, journalists Mohammed Zubair, Rana Ayyub, and writer Saba Naqvi and Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India and The Wire have been named in the FIR.

“The recent FIR that has been lodged against me and five others are not mere personal attacks but a larger message that the government wants to propel that there can be no dissent from civil society, opposition parties, and independent media houses,” Usmani said in statement released on Wednesday.

The case registered under the charges IPC sections 153 (provocation for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505 (mischief), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) against them.

“The tweets by the accused had been broadcast on a large scale. The tweets by the accused hint at a criminal conspiracy. The accused and other people tried to create animosity between Hindus and Muslims. The statements made in social media were an attempt to destroy communal harmony. These false tweets had been retweeted by thousands of users. The accused include journalists and political persons who did not make an attempt to establish the truth in the case and spread false news,” read the FIR.

Usmani went on to say: “Let me be very clear on this that I will fight against these atrocities with complete energy even at the peril of my life. I invite you to see my tweets and decide in which capacity they are disturbing communal harmony. My tweets are still in the public domain. I haven’t tweeted any video (which is wrongly mentioned in FIR that I have tweeted video to incite communal tension) but the tweets I had shared were based on a video and various news reports, published in mainstream national media both print and electronic that are already in wide circulation.”

Usmani added that he eloquently lampoons the UP BJP government and their machinery who are responsible for staging such hate crimes.

“Even if I am sent behind bars I will not hesitate to call a spade a spade. Let us end this tyranny and speak truth to power,” said the young Congress politician.

After a video of the Hindu youths’ horrific assault on a 72-year-old elderly Muslim Abdul Samad in Ghaziabad went viral on social media, many including politicians, activists and celebrities took to Twitter to register their protest against ongoing anti-Muslim violence in Uttar Pradesh.

In the video of the incident, a group of men can be seen brutally thrashing the 72-year-old Abdul Samad. It also showed them forcefully cut his beard using a scissor. Samad told Maktoob that the Hindu men offered him an auto ride, took him to an isolated spot and beat him up, forcing him to chant Jai Shri Ram and sing Vande Mataram.

Following a large scale outrage in social media against the latest Islamophobia attack in Uttar Pradesh, the Ghaziabad police have ruled out any anti-Muslim angle in the incident.

Three people have so far been arrested for allegedly assaulting the elderly man, Abdul Samad.

The arrested accused have been identified as Parvesh Gujjar, Kallu and Aadil.

However in a bizarre incident, Ghaziabad police have arrested a Muslim youth Aadil who “rushed to the scene to rescue Abdul Samad” from assailants.

Two other Muslim men Aarif and Mushahid were also named in the FIR.

Aadil’s brother Mohammad Sajid told Maktoob that Aadil was innocent of the charges against him.

“Aadil and his friends received a call informing them that Samad was being assaulted by Pravesh Gujjar and others. They rushed to the scene to rescue him” Sajid told Maktoob, while on his way to the court to challenge the false allegations against Aadil.