Day after EC crackdown, Azam Khan booked for Kargil remarks
A day after the Election Commission barred SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh and ordered an FIR against him for his remarks on the Kargil incursion, the Ghaziabad police on Saturday booked the UP minister on charges of promoting enmity and other offences. Khan has also been booked for his “kutte ka baccha” remark while attacking BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi during a poll rally.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Kunal Silku lodged an FIR against Khan at Masuri police station. “We have registered an FIR against Azam Khan under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of IPC,” said Masuri police station SHO Subodh.
The charges also include Sections 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC. Police said Khan has also been booked under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.
In his complaint, Silku has said that Khan’s remarks were aimed at promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion and race. Addressing a party rally in the Muslim-dominated Masuri area on April 7, Khan had said that the Kargil peaks were conquered by Muslims, not Hindus.
Akhilesh misses Azam at Rampur rally
At the Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow, plans have gone awry with EC banning Azam Khan from attending public meetings.
A day after the ban, CM Akhilesh Yadav reached Rampur Saturday for a rally along with Azam’s younger son Abdullah Azam.
Azam Khan’s usefulness is known to all in the party. When SP launched its election campaign on October 28 last year, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav personally stopped Azam and asked Akhilesh to speak before him. It became a tradition since, and a major part of the rallies is devoted to Azam followed by Mulayam.
Attending a meeting at Tanda in Rampur, other SP leaders hesitated to sit beside Akhilesh, normally reserved for Azam. After a while, Rajya Sabha MP Munawwar Saleem took the seat. “It is difficult to imagine addressing a public meeting in Rampur without Azam,” Akhilesh said after the meeting in Rampur.
At his maiden rally, Abdullah, an engineering student, defended his father. “There are lots of comments on social networking sites against my father. Fingers are raised on his patriotism, but you all know about his honesty and patriotism,” he said ending his address with an Urdu couplet like his father.
Azam himself did not attend the meeting. He addressed a press conference where he alleged that EC took a biased decision. At Fareedpur in Aonla constituency, Mulayam appealed to EC to grant permission to Azam for campaigning.