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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Ex-governor Aziz Qureshi faces sedition case over UP govt comment

Qureshi had gone to Rampur late Saturday evening to meet Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s wife Tanzeem Fatima, a local MLA. Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan are in judicial custody in connection with cases pending against them. Tanzeem Fatima was released from jail in December last year.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
Updated: September 7, 2021 1:21:46 am
The BJP leader also handed over to police a pen drive containing Aziz Qureshi's alleged statement which was aired by various news channels. (PTI)

THE Rampur police has booked former Uttar Pradesh governor Aziz Qureshi on sedition charges for allegedly making derogatory comments against the Yogi Adityanath government.

Qureshi had gone to Rampur late Saturday evening to meet Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s wife Tanzeem Fatima, a local MLA. Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan are in judicial custody in connection with cases pending against them. Tanzeem Fatima was released from jail in December last year.

Leaving after meeting Fatima, Qureshi allegedly compared the Adityanath government to a “blood-sucking demon”.

On the basis of a complaint filed by local BJP leader Akash Saxena, an FIR was lodged against Qureshi at the Civil Lines Police Station Sunday under IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 124-A (sedition) and 505 (1)-B (intent to cause fear or alarm to the public).

Saxena said when Qureshi visited Azam Khan’s house, several people including mediapersons had gathered. “While speaking to the public, Aziz Qureshi made derogatory remarks against the Uttar Pradesh government,” Saxena complained, adding that Qureshi’s statement was doing the rounds on social media and may create tension between communities.

It was while Qureshi was holding charge as Uttar Pradesh Governor, in July 2014, that the state government had passed the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University (Amendment) Bill, 2007, giving the institute, with Azam Khan as its Chancellor, minority status.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Rampur, Sansar Singh said Saxena had given a pen drive to police containing Qureshi’s alleged statement. “We will verify it.”

Since the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March 2017, 81 criminal cases have been registered against Azam Khan, including charges of cheating, criminal trespass and land grabbing. Police have filed a chargesheet in 79 cases and a closure report in one, where Azam Khan was found to have been wrongly named. In a majority of the cases, Fatima and Abdullahh are co-accused.

In February last year, Azam Khan, Tanzeem and Abdullah had surrendered before a local Rampur court in connection with a case related to alleged forgery of Abdullah’s birth certificate.

Incidentally, it was Saxena who, in January 2019, had filed a complaint against Azam Khan and Fatima accusing them of getting two birth certificates made for their son, mentioning different places of birth. Later, Abdullah’s Assembly membership, from Swar seat in Ramput, had been cancelled by the Allahabad High Court.

While Azam Khan is currently in a hospital in Lucknow on complaints of breathlessness, Abdullah is lodged in Sitapur district jail.

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