New Delhi, 10th February 2021. Human rights organization NCHRO condemned the charges slapped on Sharjeel Usmani.
On January 30, 2021, the Elgaar Parishad had organised its event at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune, Maharashtra. A total of 14 speakers spoke at the event. One among them is Sharjeel Usmani, a former Aligarh Muslim Student leader.
Adv. Amit Srivastav -President, Delhi state committee, NCHRO said here,
“Needless to say, all the speeches were political at the event, and were about the abysmal state of affairs in the country today. Following the speech by Sharjeel Usmani, two FIRs were registered against him. One on February 2, under Section 153 A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion) on the basis of a complaint registered by advocate Pradeep Gawade, who is the secretary of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and a former member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The next day, another FIR was registered in UP. This one was registered after Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Singh Bisht, also known as Yogi Adityanath. This FIR was registered under IPC sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings) along with sections of the IT Act.
Usmani was also known for his presence in the anti-CAA-NRC protests that had gripped the country in 2019 and early 2020. It’s clear that the government has a problem with anyone who speaks for justice.
When one takes a look at Usmani’s speech, it becomes clear that the charges levelled at him are done so because he had called out the condition of the country today. There was nothing whatsoever in his speech that can be called seditious, Besides, the law of sedition is one that does not deserve a place in a democratic constitution. It is a draconian act that has its roots in colonial India.
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations condemns the booking of Usmani. We demand that the FIRs booked against him be quashed immediately. There is no basis for them. Usmani has also said that he had showed his speech to three separate Supreme Court lawyers, all of whom said that “not one word in the entire speech can be commissioned as an offence in any Indian court”. Usmani’s speech was an important speech as it mentioned the kinds of injustices that have been happening in the country. While the justice-loving people would appreciate and support his speech, the government has been after him, trying to set an example and intimidate people into silence.
The NCHRO stands in solidarity with Usmani, and calls on every progressive organisation and individual to do the same and condemn the authoritarian tactics of the BJP government.”