Activist Sharjeel Usmani to appear before Swargate police

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Deccanexpress online:  Activist Sharjeel Usmani will appear before the Pune Police for questioning in connection with an FIR lodged against him for an alleged hate speech he delivered during the Elgar Parishad conclave held this year.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked activist Sharjeel Usmani to appear before Pune police for questioning. A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale asked the police not to take any coercive action against Usmani till March 16 when the court will hear his plea seeking to quash the case.

Usmani’s counsel Mihir Desai on Tuesday told court his client had been summoned by the police on Wednesday. “He is willing to appear for questioning but he should not be arrested,” Desai said.

An FIR was registered on February 2, 2021, against Usmani (23), an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University, by the Swargate police station in Pune under section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race and so on.

This development comes days after Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh demanded the arrest of Usmani. Meanwhile, the Opposition BJP in Maharashtra had demanded action against Usmani, accusing him of “hurting religious sentiments”.

The court will hear Usmani plea on March 16 seeking to quash the case.¬†“The FIR is frivolous, baseless and was registered on the basis of certain select statements taken out of context from the speech of the petitioner. The petitioner in his speech has only identified a problem in the social construct of this day and has concluded with a solution to that problem,” the plea said. The speech merely appeals for combat against the hatred in the society without any ill will or enmity against any religion, caste or community, the plea added.

 

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