PUNE–The Pune Police have booked former Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student leader Sharjil Usmani for offences under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The FIR was registered on a complaint by Pradip Haribhau Gawade, secretary of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Gawade alleged that Usmani had hurt religious sentiments of Hindus in his speech at Elgar Parishad-2021 on January 30.
Meanwhile, Elgar Parishad organizers claimed that the right wing forces were making an issue out of the one liner to defame anti-caste conference. Earlier on Jan 30, noted writer Arundhati Roy had stated that Elgar Parishad-2017 was defamed by the corporate media at the behest of the right wingers.
The complaint stated, “Elgar Parishad 2021 took place at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch Auditorium which was attended by various speakers from the country. Sharjil Usmani during his speech made objectionable comments against Hindu community and the country which was inflammatory in nature. He said that today’s Hindu society is rotten to the core, they do lynching, commit murders, go home after committing murders, what they might be doing with their hands, might be washing them with a new method, might be mixing some medicine and taking bath, what these people might be doing as they come and take meals with us, stand and sit down, next day again go out catch somebody and murder him and live a normal life. They touch the feet of their parents and go to temple for prayers. After coming out, they do the same thing. This is a highly provocative statement which has hurt my and the Hindu community’s sentiments. Sharjil further said that he does not trust the Indian Judiciary and Indian Executive where he said ‘ I don’t trust Indian Judiciary, I don’t trust Indian Executive, I don’t trust Indian Parliament and I don’t trust Indian State, ” Gawade stated in his complaint.
Usmani, in his speech, while talking about lynchings had allegedly said that those Hindus, who are involved in lynching, ‘kill people’, then live their lives normally, and later kill people again the next day. He had also alleged that the ‘Hindu society had become rotten to the core today’ while specifically talking about the mob lynchings in Uttar Pradesh.
“Our conference is exclusively against Manuwadi and mani-wadi system. During Elgar Parishad, Sharjil’s speech was fine but the word ‘ Hindu ’ he used was wrong and I condemned it. It was his mistake. Instead of the word ‘ Hindu ,’ he should have used the words ‘ manuwadi ’ or brahmanwadi. BJP is making an issue out of this purely to defame Elgar Parishad ,” one of the Elgar Parishad organisers said.
The second edition of the Elgar Parishad was held in Pune on January 30 amidst heavy security arrangements under strict watch and surveillance of Intelligence agencies. Prominent academics, activists and writers from Dalit, Left, Muslim, Christian and other communities spoke during the event, held at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch auditorium in Pune.
The first Elgar Parishad was held on December 31, 2017 in Pune’s historic Shaniwar Wada, and attended by thousands. A day later, caste clashes broke out in Bhima Koregaon, roughly 30km away from Pune, during the bicentennial celebration of a British-era war. Tens of thousands of Dalit people from across the country congregate at Bhima Koregaon annually for the conclave.
The January 30 event was organised by the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan, an umbrella body of 250 Dalit, Left and other social organisations. It was addressed by Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy, former bureaucrat Kannan Gopinathan, former Bombay HC judge BG Kolse Patil, journalist Prashant Kanojia, Jamia Millia Islamia student Ayesha Renna , Singer Bant Singh, Father Frazer Mascarenhas and Bhante Sudassan.