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Maharashtra government orally assures HC of no coercive action against Sharjeel Usmani till March 15

Usmani to appear before Pune Police for interrogation on Tuesday morning.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: March 9, 2021 7:45:24 pm
Usmani left the police station after the questioning was over. (File)

After the state government (Pune Police) orally assured the Bombay High Court that it would not take coercive action till the next hearing against former Aligarh Muslim University student leader Sharjeel Usmani, who has been booked for allegedly delivering a provocative speech at Elgaar Parishad on January 30, the court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on his plea to Monday.

The High Court also asked Usmani to ensure he appears before Swargate police station in Pune for interrogation on Wednesday morning.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale was hearing Usmani’s pleas that claim the FIR lodged against him in Pune at the “behest” of a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) leader was a “political gimmick”.

Following a complaint lodged by lawyer Pradeep Gawade — the Pune regional secretary of BJYM — at the Swargate police station, on February 2 Pune Police booked Usmani under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIR alleged that Usmani made offensive statements against the Hindu community, judiciary and Parliament.

In his petition filed through advocate Aditi Saxena, Usmani said the FIR is “frivolous and baseless” and has been registered on the basis of a select few statements taken out of context.

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On Tuesday, Senior Counsel Mihir Desai for Usmani submitted that it was merely a speech and there was no riot after that; therefore, the offences of public disharmony were unfounded. He said Usmani was called for interrogation on Wednesday and will cooperate with the probe.

Additional Public Prosecutor J P Yagnik for Pune Police orally assured the court of not taking any coercive action against Usmani, subject to his appearance before police.

“Please ask your client to go for investigation (10 am on Tuesday),” Justice Shinde told Desai.

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