Former AMU student leader Sharjeel Usmani booked in Pune for 'provocative' speech at Elgar Parishad
Photo Credit: Twitter/@SharjeelUsmani

The Pune Police on Tuesday booked Aligarh University alumnus Sharjeel Usmani for allegedly "promoting enmity between different groups" during his speech at the Elgar Parishad 2021 conclave on 30 January.

According to reports, Usmani has been booked following a complaint by Pradip Gawade, Pune regional secretary of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and using objectionable words against a particular community.

Gawade had on Monday submitted a complaint application at the Swargate police station.

Based on the complaint, and after a preliminary probe, the Pune Police on Tuesday booked Usmani under Section 153 (A) of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground religion, etc).

"We have requested the police to also lodge a case against him under Section 124-A, IPC, as he clearly stated he didn't believe in the Indian state, Parliament, and judiciary. We also said a case should be lodged against the organisers of Elgar Parishad," ANI quoted Gawade as saying.

Usmani had attended the Elgar Parishad event organised at Pune's Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on 30 January. Soon after, a video of him allegedly using objectionable words against Hindus went viral, and a demand for stern action against him was raised.

BJP leaders called for stern action against the AMU alumnus. They also threatened to protest if action was not taken by the state government.

Former chief minister and Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly Devendra Fadnavis had also written a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, asking him to book and arrest Usmani.

Amid the furore, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had on Monday said the state government will examine the speeches made at ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’ to see if any “objectionable comments” were made at the event.

Usmani, a student leader at AMU, had earlier been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police for his alleged role in the clashes that erupted outside the AMU campus during the anti CAA-NRC agitation in 2019. He is currently out on bail.

The Elgar Parishad conclave took place in the city on 30 January this year. The gathering was also addressed by writer Arundhati Roy, Justice (retd) B G Kolse Patil, and former IPS official S M Mushrif, among others.

Three years ago, several Left-leaning activists were arrested by the police for alleged Naxal links following the December 2017 Elgar Parishad conclave and the caste violence at the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the next day.

The Elgar Parishad event on 31 December 2017 organised by the Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada had turned controversial after provocative speeches were allegedly made during the event, promoting enmity between people.

The police investigation further found Maoist links in the Elgar Parishad 2017 event, leading to the arrest of 16 activists alleged to have links with the banned Maoist party.

Hyderabad-based poet Varavara Rao, Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha, and Anand Teltumbde are among the accused who have been arrested in the case, which is now being investigated by the National Investigation Agency.

(With inputs from agencies)

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