FIR against Muslim student leader Sharjeel Usmani over Elgar Parishad speech

Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said that Usmani will be arrested from wherever he is.

Mumbai: Student activist and alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, Sharjeel Usmani has been booked for his speech at the Elgar Parishad 2021 held in Pune on January 30. The Pune Police registered an FIR against Usmani under Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code at Swargate Police Station on Tuesday.

Complaint against Usmani was filed by Pradeep Gavade, a local leader of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), BJP’s Youth wing for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments.

Earlier on Tuesday, BJP leader and former chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis demanded the state government to arrest Usmani and threatened to organize protests if no action is taken against him.

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking his help in arresting Usmani.

Hindustan Times reported that another complaint has been filed against Usmani at Dindoshi Police Station by BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar.

Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh told the press on Wednesday that the Police have investigated the video clippings of the Elgar event held on 30th in Pune and a case has been registered against Sharjeel Usmani for his offensive remarks. He added that Usmani will have to face arrest even if he is not currently in Maharashtra.

Usmani is a student activist and the National Secretary of Fraternity Movement. As a student leader at AMU he was at the forefront of the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests. He was arrested in July 2020 over a CAA protest organized at AMU in December 2019. A district court in Aligarh granted him bail in September.

Elgar Parishad is an event organized by the Bhima Koregaon Shuarya Din Prerna Abhiyan on the birth anniversary of the late student leader and anti-caste activist Rohith Vemula. Key speakers at the 2021 event included Prashant Kanojia, Satyabhama Suryawanshi, Arundhati Roy, family members of Rohith Vemula, Payal Tadvi & Sanjeev Bhatt.

The Elgar Parishad has become an important event of resistance against the Hindutva regime after the arrest of several anti-caste voices and human rights activists over allegations of inciting violence in Bhima Koregaon via their speeches at the event in 2018.

Anand Teltumbde, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Stan Swamy, Shoma Sen, Hany Babu, Sudhir Dhawale, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves are among the 16 people arrested so far in the case.

However, Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote named in a fact-finding report for inciting violence are yet to be arrested by the Police.

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