Dalit writer moves HC for relief,quashing of FIR

Dalit writer Kanwal Bharti,who was arrested by the Rampur police for his Facebook post against CM Akhilesh Yadav and cabinet minister Azam Khan,Monday filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court demanding compensation from the state government,quashing of the FIR,and stay on the investigation.

Written by Express News Service | Allahabad | Published:September 3, 2013 5:21 am

Dalit writer Kanwal Bharti,who was arrested by the Rampur police for his Facebook post against CM Akhilesh Yadav and cabinet minister Azam Khan,Monday filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court demanding compensation from the state government,quashing of the FIR,and stay on the investigation.

The matter is likely to come up for hearing on September 5 before a bench headed by Justice Surendra Singh. Bharti had posted the comment after IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was suspended for ordering demolition of the wall of an under-construction mosque in Gautam Budh Nagar.

The Dalit writer had questioned as to why no action was taken when a 200-year-old madrasa was demolished in Rampur — the constituency of state cabinet minister Azam Khan.

He had gone on to comment that it appeared that the Minister (made respondent No. 5 in the petition) was above God in his area.

Khan’s aide Fasahat Ali Khan had then approached the police and lodged an FIR against him on August 5 on charges of disturbing communal harmony.

Bharti was arrested August 6 morning.

In his petition,Bharti states that the FIR is a violation of Article 19 (1) of the Constitution,which allows freedom of speech and expression,and was registered against him at Azam Khan’s behest with malafide intention.

“The prayer is to grant compensation to the petitioner for the harassment and loss of self-esteem caused to him. Also,we have prayed that the FIR be quashed and the investigation in the matter be stayed till the pendency of the petition,’’ said senior advocate Ravi Kiran Jain,who would appear in court on Bharti’s behalf.

The petition also argues that had his comments been communally sensitive,instances of flare-ups would have taken place as soon as he had posted the comment on Facebook on July 29. The complainant lodged the FIR after he read the post on August 5,the petition states.

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