Samajwadi MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq booked for sedition after remarks on Taliban

Samajwadi Party leader and four-time MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq has been booked for sedition following his recent remarks about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, police said on Wednesday.

The police said that he was charged under Indian Penal Code section 124A (sedition) following a complaint from BJP leader Rajesh Singhal on Tuesday that Barq allegedly defended the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and equating it with India’s own freedom struggle.

The BJP leader in his complaint said that Barq’s “controversial statement comes in the category of sedition.”

The MP has been also booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs)

“I didn’t make any such statement (comparing Taliban with Indian freedom fighters). My statement has been misinterpreted. I’m a citizen of India, not of Afghanistan, so I’ve no business with what is happening there,” ANI quoted Barq as saying.

According to reports, responding to questions from reporters on Monday, Lok Sabha member Barq had said the Taliban wanted to free their country and it was Afghanistan’s internal matter. He had called the Taliban a force that did not allow Russia or the United States to establish themselves in Afghanistan, “and now they want to run their own country.”

The MP had said that when India was under British Rule, the entire country fought for independence. “They want to be free. This is their personal matter. How can we interfere?” the SP legislator had said on developments in Afghanistan. Barq had said the Afghans want to “run their own country in the manner they wanted.”

Besides Barq, two others – Mohammad Muqueem and Chaudhary Faizan – have also been booked under these sections, the police said, adding that the matter is being probed.