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Elgaar Parishad speech: Maharashtra Home Minister vows arrest Sharjeel Usmani; BJP wants UP police to step in

A day after the police in Pune booked student leader Sharjeel Usmani for his alleged provocative speech at the Elgaar Parishad on January 30, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday said the state police have launched a search for him and he will be arrested from ‘wherever he is’. Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to arrest Usmani.

Usmani, a former student of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), was booked late on Tuesday night on a complaint filed by a BJP youth-wing leader from Pune. The Azamgarh resident was booked under Section 153A of the IPC which pertains to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, a non-bailable offence.

Deshmukh said in the tweet on Wednesday, “Police have examined the clipping of the objectionable speech by Sharjeel Usmani, which he delivered at Elgaar Parishad held in Pune on January 30. An offence has been registered against him. He is currently out of Maharashtra. He will be arrested from wherever he is. Police are searching for him.”

In his letter to the Uttar Pradesh CM, Patil urged the UP government to file an FIR against the student leader “for hurting the sentiments of Hindus across India”. Expressing disappointment with the Maharashtra government, the BJP state chief said:

“Even after five days, the state government has not initiated any probe. They have not filed an FIR. It is a sad state of affairs. We don’t expect the Uddhav Thackeray-led government to take any action.”

Read |Sharjeel Usmani booked by Pune Police over ‘provocative speech’ at Elgaar Parishad 2

The state BJP chief claimed that “by calling the entire Hindu community rotten, Usmani has crossed all limits. His speech was to foment hatred against Hindus. He cannot go unpunished.”

On Tuesday, Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis had written to Thackeray, demanding action against Usmani terming his statements “highly objectionable”. “Usmani’s remark amounts to creating communal disharmony and hatred against Hindus,” he had said.

Apart from Usmani, other keynote speakers at the conference were author Arundhati Roy, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, journalist Prashant Kanojia, Dalit activist Satyabhama Suryawanshi from Latur, retired High Court judge BG Kolse Patil and retired IPS officer S M Mushrif, among others.

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