Supporters of Sana Khan, the newly elected nagar panchayat chairperson of Dhaurahra town, have been booked on sedition charge for allegedly raising “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan during a procession after Uttar Pradesh civic poll results were declared on December 1. Sana Khan contested the election on a Congress symbol and the FIR has been lodged on a complaint by the son of BJP candidate Sushma Devi.
Police suspect authenticity of a video of the procession, which has circulated on social media, as no one in the procession is seen raising the slogan and the voice appears to be coming from behind the person shooting the video. Sana Khan’s husband Afzal Ahmed Khan has denied the allegations and said the BJP candidate, who lost by a margin of 1,261 votes, got their supporters framed on false charges. All the persons named in the case belong to Dhaurahra town.
The police complaint lodged on December 2 at Dhaurahra police station by Sushma Devi’s son Vikas Shukla names 11 accused, besides mentioning several unidentified supporters of Sana Khan. Shukla alleged that after Sana Khan was declared winner on December 1, he and his supporters returned home from Dhaurahra tehsil, where the votes were counted.
“After the result was declared, Sana Khan’s supporters took out a procession in the town during which they raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. One of my supporters informed me about it. I rushed to the place and heard people raising the slogan ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. Local shopkeepers and I objected to it,” Vikas told The Indian Express.
He added, “Supporters of Sana Khan threw stones at us when we objected. As people in the area started gathering there, supporters of Sana Khan escaped.” He claimed there no policeman was present at the place. “A day later, when the video went viral, I lodged the complaint,” Vikas said.
The accused have booked under Indian Penal Code sections 147 (rioting), 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others), 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 124 A (Sedition) and Information Technology Act.
Sana’s husband Afzal admitted that the 11 persons named in the FIR are their supporters, but said, “They all have been framed in a false case by Sushma Devi who lost the election. After results were declared, our supporters were returning home when Sushma Devi’s supporters joined them at a crossing and raised the anti-national slogan. The video is shot by a supporter of Sushma Devi.” He also said no one from his family was present there.
Circle Officer, Dhaurahra area, Nishthha Upadhyay said, “Police have got the video from a local journalist and it would be sent for forensic examination. In the video, someone who is not seen is heard raising the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and also ‘Pakistan Murdabad’. The voice of sloganeering by only one man is coming from behind the person who is shooting the video of the procession.”