Urdu poet Munawwar Rana was booked on Monday for defending the recent killings in France over a caricature of Prophet Muhammad. An FIR in this regard has been lodged at Lucknow’s police station.
“People were forced to kill by making cartoons of Prophet Mohammed saheb. They were instigated by giving rise to the controversy. If someone makes a controversial cartoon of Lord Ram, I will kill him also," Rana said.
In a purported video clip of an interview to a news channel that went viral on social media, he can be heard saying: “If any person makes such a bad cartoon of my father or mother, then I will kill him."
The poet has been booked under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), an officer said.
The poet has also been booked under IPC Section 505 (statements conducing public mischief) and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, the officer said, adding the FIR was lodged taking cognisance of the interview and a probe is on.
Reacting to the FIR, Rana said, “The pen we have is for writing the truth, not to put waist-band in pajamas. I would like to go to jail and die in jail, but will stick to my statement." He added that he has no idea about the FIR and had he known about the report, he would himself have gone to the police station.
“Someone showed me a doctor named Deepak Pandey who has lodged this FIR against me, another person told me that an inspector by that name has filed the FIR. I am sure he had passed his high school examination by cheating. I still stand by my statement," the poet said.
Rana’s comments came after three people were killed in a knife attack at a church in Nice last week. A teacher in the suburban area of Paris was also beheaded a few weeks ago for showing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad for a class on free speech.
After the teacher’s assassination, there is a lot of anger among Muslim countries over the remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Significantly, after the terrorist attack in France, a lot of controversial statements were made in India. Before Munawwar Rana, Farhan Zubairihad justified the killing in France. Zubairi is a resident of Kanpur and is an officer of AMU Student Union. He is currently associated with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. Farhan also played an active role in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at AMU.