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Thursday, March 04, 2021

Elgaar Parishad 2: Deshmukh says speeches at event will be ‘examined’; BJYM leader files complaint against Sharjeel Usmani

On Sunday, BJP's state unit spokesperson Keshav Upadhye had demanded that the state government take action against Sharjeel Usmani, a student leader of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), for allegedly defaming the Hindu community during his speech at Elgaar Parishad this year.

By: Express News Service | Nagpur |
Updated: February 1, 2021 10:52:17 pm
Sharjeel Usmani, Anil DeshmukhSharjeel Usmani was booked under IPC 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), a non-bailable offence. (File)

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday said the state government will examine the speeches made at ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’, which was held in Pune recently, to see if any “objectionable comments” were made at the event. “If any objectionable things are found, action will be taken accordingly… I can’t say more about it till the examination is on,” said Deshmukh while speaking to mediapersons in Nagpur.

On Sunday, BJP’s state unit spokesperson Keshav Upadhye had demanded that the state government take action against Sharjeel Usmani, a student leader of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), for allegedly defaming the Hindu community during his speech at Elgaar Parishad this year. The event was organised in Pune by the ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan’ on January 30, which is the birth anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad whose suicide had created an uproar in 2016.

Meanwhile, advocate Pradeep Gawade, state secretary of the BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), on Monday filed a complaint at the Swargate police station in the city. Gawade demanded that an offence be lodged against Usmani under sections 153 (a), 295 (a) and 124 (a) for his “objectionable” and “provocative” speech at the ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’.

Usmani had been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police last year for his alleged role in the clashes that broke out following protests against the amended citizenship law on the AMU campus on December 15, 2019. He is currently out on bail.

Other speakers at the ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’ included author Arundhati Roy, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, journalist Prashant Kanojia, Dalit activist Satyabhama Suryawanshi from Latur, retired High Court judge B G Kolse Patil and retired IPS officer S M Mushrif, among others.

The ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan’ had also organised the first ‘Elgaar Parishad, held at the Shaniwaar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, a day before the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

An investigation by Pune Police had claimed that the conclave was organised as per the “strategy of the banned CPI-Maoist”. Police also claimed that “provocative” speeches at the conference were among factors that aggravated the violence at Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018. The National Investigation Agency had taken over the probe in the case last year. Several prominent human rights activists have been arrested in connection with the case, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy, as well as Elgaar Parishad organiser Sudhir Dawale and artists of Kabir Kala Manch, for their alleged link with the CPI-Maoist.

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