Renowned Urdu poet Munawwar Rana has been booked by Uttar Pradesh Police for his purported remarks in support of the recent knife attacks by Islamic extremists in France.
An FIR has been registered at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow on the complaint of sub-inspector Deepak Kumar Pandey, who alleged that Rana, in an interview to a TV channel, made objectionable comments which are circulating on the social media. “The statements are potentially promoting enmity between different communities, can have adverse effects on social harmony and disrupt peace,” the FIR added.
Last month, a middle school teacher in a Paris suburb was killed days after he showed cartoons of Prophet Mohammad from the satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo, during a discussion on freedom of expression. And three others were killed last week in a church in France.
Asked about his reaction to the recent incidents, Rana condemned the killings and use of Prophet Mohammad sketches, but said he would also have acted in the same manner as insulting a religious figure is unacceptable.
Rana has been booked under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 505 1B (Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility) of the IPC along with sections of the Information Technology Act.
Earlier, Rana spoke to several media organisations over the killings. Talking to the news channel mentioned in the FIR, he had said, “If someone makes a cartoon of my father, or a disgusting cartoon of my mother, I will kill that person. If someone makes a cartoon of Indian Gods like Mother Sita or Lord Ram, which is disgusting, objectionable and regrettable, I will kill that person. When honor killing has been considered acceptable in India for thousands of years and there is no punishment, then how can you call this illegitimate.”
Talking to a newspaper, he had said that sketching Prophet Mohammad is wrong and the French magazine deliberately drew them to insult Muslims.
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