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Activist Sharjeel Usmani Moves HC, Seeks Quashing of FIR Against Him Over Elgar Parishad Speech

File photo of Sharjeel Usmani.

File photo of Sharjeel Usmani.

In the petition, Usmani termed the FIR as "frivolous and baseless", and said it has been registered "on the basis of certain select statements taken out of context".

Mumbai: Activist Sharjeel Usmani has approached the Bombay High Court seeking to quash an FIR registered against him by the Pune police for allegedly promoting enmity among different groups in his speech made at the Elgar Parishad event held in January this year. In the petition filed earlier this week, Usmani termed the FIR as "frivolous and baseless", and said it has been registered "on the basis of certain select statements taken out of context".

The FIR was registered on February 2, 2021 against Usmani (23), an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), 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, place of birth, residence, language, etc). Usmani has sought for the FIR to be quashed and a direction to the police to not take any coercive action against him pending hearing of his petition.

The FIR was filed based on a complaint lodged by one Pradeep Gawade against Usmani for allegedly making offensive statements against the 'Hindu community', 'Indian judiciary' and 'Parliament' during the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on January 30, 2021. In the plea, Usmani claimed that there was no disharmony or violence at the conclave before or after his speech.

"The FIR is frivolous, baseless and has been 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. It added that the speech in totality appeals for a combat against hatred in the society without any ill-will or enmity against any religion, caste or community.

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Usmani's petition will come up for hearing before a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale next week.

first published:March 05, 2021, 18:45 IST