Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday promised strict action against Sharjeel Usmani, an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), who had allegedly insulted Hindu sentiments during his speech at the Elgar Parishad conclave held recently in Pune.
Noting that the former Bombay High Court judge B G Kolse-Patil was present at the event, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said Usmani should have been stopped by the former magistrate. He added that the government will consider barring "such people" from speaking at events while granting permission for any programme.
"Sharjeel should've been stopped by former Magistrate who was present there (Elgar Parishad). Strict action will be taken based on FIR by govt. Govt will consider barring such people from speaking at events while granting permission for any programme," news agency ANI quoted Pawar as saying.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra unit of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded action against the organisers of the Elgar Parishad for "supporting" Sharjeel Usmani.
In a tweet, state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said the Elgar Parishad was creating divisions in society. "By supporting Usmani's anti Hindu comments, Elgar Parishad proves what its real motives are," Upadhye tweeted.
Reportedly, the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan, the organising body of Elgar Parishad 2021, in a statement said it was "firmly standing with Sharjeel Usmani".
The statement said "activist Sharjeel Usmani is a 23- year-old Muslim student" and "the Muslim part of his identity had to be mentioned because the perverted, vile and violent reaction to Sharjeel's speech is solely because of his religion". It said "the Brahminical element" had created "hoopla around one statement in Sharjeel Usmani's speech".
Besides, the Pune Police on February 2 registered a case under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion etc) against Usmani on the complaint of a BJP youth wing leader.