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Sunday, March 07, 2021

Row over speech at ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’: Those present should have stopped Usmani’s speech, says Ajit Pawar

Besides Pawar, other NCP ministers, including Jitendra Awhad and Chhagan Bhujbal, have also called Usmani's speech wrong.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: February 6, 2021 8:11:54 am
Sharjeel Usmani at Elgaar Parishad 2021. BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and MLA Chandrakant Patil seek action against Usmani.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday hit out at the “big personalities” present at the ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’ programme for not stopping the alleged objectionable speech made by former Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student leader Sharjeel Usmani.

Pawar, who was speaking to media-persons about Usmani’s speech, said, “It was not at all correct. Police are investigating it. Action will be taken as per the law.”

When asked, why permission was granted for the programme, Pawar said, “If one takes permission for giving speech, it is known what speech will be delivered. Those giving speech should maintain some balance. There were big personalities. Even those who have worked as a judge were present. If someone delivered a wrong speech, it should have been stopped immediately. They should have told this speech (of Usmani) is not good for the country… People from various communities live together and such a speech will cause hatred…”

Retired High Court judge Justice B G Kolse Patil was among the key organisers of the Elgaar Parishad 2021 that was held at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune on January 30. He had tendered an apology regarding Usmani’s comments.

Usmani was among the key speakers at the event, organised by the “Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan”. Based on a complaint filed by BJP member Pradeep Gawade, an FIR has been lodged at Swargate police station against Usmani under Section 153 (a) of the Indian Penal Code for his alleged objectionable speech against the Hindu community and the country.

Besides Pawar, other NCP ministers, including Jitendra Awhad and Chhagan Bhujbal, have also called Usmani’s speech wrong. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that Usmani will be arrested from “wherever he is”.

Meanwhile, the BJP has been targeting Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on this issue. Former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had on February 2 written to Thackeray, seeking action against Usmani. Next day, BJP MLA and state party chief Chandrakant Patil wrote to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking action against Usmani. BJP leaders have demanded that charges of sedition be invoked against Usmani.

Based on a complaint filed by one Anurag Singh, an offence of sedition was lodged against Usmani at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station in connection with his speech at the Elgaar Parishad. The UP Police has booked Usmani under IPC sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings) along with sections of the IT Act.

Hitting back at the BJP, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Thursday came out with an editorial titled “Sharjilala Bedya Padtil! Nishhint Raha! (Sharjeel will be arrested, don’t worry).”

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