BSP leader Shahla Tahir, the newly elected chairperson of Nawabganj municipal board in Bareilly district, her husband Dr Mohammad Tahir and 500 unidentified people have been charged with sedition after they took part in a procession during which ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans were allegedly raised.
The FIR was lodged late Tuesday on the complaint of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Nawabganj area president, Akhilesh Kumar Gangwar.
Shahla is yet to take oath — she had skipped the oath-taking ceremony on December 12. She has been claiming that the district administration is not making arrangements for her to take oath, while the administration has maintained that she did not turn up for the swearing-in ceremony as she is facing a case of attempt to murder.
Nawabganj police station SHO Ram Naresh Choudhary said that VHP office-bearer Gangwar had lodged a complaint on December 24, alleging that Shahla and her supporters took out a procession in Nawabganj on December 23 where ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan was raised. The complainant submitted a CD as evidence, the SHO added.
Circle Officer of Nawabganj area Preetam Pal Singh said, “We examined the CD but could not decipher the exact words of the slogan as there was too much noise in the background. The CD was sent for forensic test. The lab report confirmed that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan was raised by people in the procession.”
Singh said that on the basis of the forensic report, an FIR was lodged against Shahla, her husband and 500 unidentified persons under IPC Section 124-A (sedition) at Nawabganj police station. “The investigation will find out if Shahla and her husband were present in the procession when the slogans were raised. We will also identify people raising the slogan,” the CO added. Shahla could not be contacted for comment.
In November, Shahla had won the Nawabganj municipal board chairperson election on a BSP ticket after defeating Premlata Rathore, the sister-in-law of BJP’s Bareilly district president Ravindra Singh Rathore, by 171 votes.
Rathore, alleging anomalies in the counting, had reportedly manhandled the subdivisional magistrate after his demand for recounting was turned down. The SDM got a case lodged against Rathore, his brother and others.
Earlier that month, Bareilly police lodged an FIR against Shahla and 26 others for allegedly attacking supporters of BJP candidate Premlata Rathore in Nawabganj town on the day of polling. They also conducted raids to arrest Shahla and other accused.
On December 12, when oath ceremonies were held across the state for newly elected mayors, corporators and chairpersons and members of municipal boards and nagar panchayats, Shahla did not turn up. After obtaining an arrest stay, Shahla had handed the order to the district magistrate and requested for arrangements for her oath-taking soon. The district administration is yet to finalise the date for the oath.