File photo of Sharjeel delivering a speech at Elgar Parishad
File photo of Sharjeel delivering a speech at Elgar Parishad

A day after Pune police filed FIR and the opposition demanded strict action for his speech at the recently held Elgar Parishad conclave, the Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday said that Aligarh University alumnus Sharjeel Usmani will be arrested. ‘’Police have investigated a video clipping of an offensive statement made by Sharjeel Usmani at the Elgar Parishad held on January 30, in Pune and have registered a case against him. He is not currently in Maharashtra. However, the police will find and arrest him wherever he is in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat,’’ said Deshmukh.

The FIR was filed against Sharjeel under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code, for promoting enmity between different groups based on grounds of religion. The regional secretary of Bhartiya Yuva Janta Morcha Pradip Gawade had filed a complaint against him.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday had demanded strict action against Sharjeel for his comments on the Hindu community during a recent Elgar Parishad event. He had added that Sharjeel’s statements were derogatory to Hindu religion, serious and objectionable, and insulting to community members.

NCP chief spokesperson and Minister of Minority Affair Nawab Mailk said the government will act strongly against this. "As a Muslim, what he said was against the teachings of Islam. Islam preaches that one should not call names to other Gods. I am myself a Muslim. What he spoke was un-Islamic. As an Indian citizen, what he spoke was a crime," he added.

Malik however, denied allegations levelled by the BJP that the government dragged its feet before acting against it. "The police inspected all the statements that were made during the Elgar Parishad programme. Only after a thorough investigation, did they take the action. There is no question of delay," he viewed.

Earlier, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil in a letter to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged him to immediately arrest Sharjeel. He pointed out that the people of Maharashtra were convinced that the state government will not take any action and therefore has sought his intervention.

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