Yesterday I came across Sharjeel Usmani’s venomous speech against Hindus. Sharjeel has been in news for his poisonous utterances in Aligarh. He is facing several cases for provoking people and making hate speeches. Pune Police on Tuesday filed an FIR against this former Aligarh Muslim University student leader on the charge of making a provocative speech against Hindus at the Elgar Parishad 2021 meet held in the city on January 30. An offense under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on communal grounds) of the Indian Penal Code was registered after a preliminary inquiry, and after going through a video of his speech.
Sharjeel Usmani was arrested by UP police for making provocative speeches and instigating riots in Aligarh in December 2019 after which he was released by the court on bail. Since then he has been extended from entering Aligarh district and is busy giving provocative speeches among Muslims throughout the country.
In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Tuesday night, we showed a video of his venomous speech in which he lashed out at the Hindu community and had threatened retaliation. What did he exactly say?
Sharjeel told the gathering attended by anti-Modi and pro-Left intellectuals: “I do not believe in nationalism. I want to make it very clear and I have come here to say this. Earlier, I used to speak softly. Today I want to say clearly that Hindu society in India has become rotten. They killed 14-year-old Junaid on a running train by stabbing him with a knife 31 times, but nobody came forward to save the 14-year-old boy. People who lynch others come from among us, but this has become so normal that nobody now questions such lynching.
“Earlier, one needed a reason to kill Muslims in India. At that time, they used to say somebody belongs to Indian Mujahideen or SIMI. Stories used to be spun to say that so and so had links with bomb blasts. They used to give justifications for killing or perpetrating atrocities on Muslims. Now, they just kill, they do not need excuses”, he said.
Sharjeel said: “If one eats meat, whether beef or mutton or chicken, kill. If they travel in train, ask for seats, if they refuse, then kill. You can consider this as a threat to people from Hindu society. Try to understand. Any living people, whether a human being or an animal, if you play with its life, it will retaliate, even if it’s weak. Normally, a lizard never bites, but if you try to tease it twice, it will bite. So, at least do not go to such an extent that it may retaliate. Elgar means war, you can do ‘elgar’ only if people among us are ready to offer martyrdom or sacrifice.”
The former AMU student leader did not stop here. He said at the Elgar Parishad meet: “For the last six years, Muslims and Islam in India have been under attack. Anybody can say anything against our religion. This month (January), at a seminar in Chaudhary Charan Singh University, a speaker came and said, a human being will turn into a monster if he recites the Holy Quran. We will create a Hindu Rashtra in the next four years, and then you will see, Muslims will cease to have any power. Such speakers rot your (Hindu) society and your children attend their gatherings. Now we (Muslims) will raise fingers at both. Please try to bring back your children from such gatherings, we will do the same with our children.”
Sharjeel Usmani made these remarks in the presence of pro-Naxalite writer Arundhati Roy, former IPS officer S M Mushref and retired judge B. G. Kolse Patil. These remarks were made in a state ruled by late Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, which once used to claim that it owned the patent on Hindutva and was more radical compared to the BJP. But look what political compulsions have done to Shiv Sena.
The party that used to claim saffron ownership is now silent on poisonous remarks made by Usmani, and that too, in Shiv Sena’s fortress in Pune. The Shiv Sena, which was founded in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is silent on this issue and none of its cadres are out on the streets to condemn Sharjeel’s remarks.
After Sharjeel’s video became viral on social media, a local lawyer filed an FIR at the local Swargate police station in Pune. The BJP took up the issue and has alleged that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government is toeing a soft line towards Usmani.
The most stinging remark against Shiv Sena was made by senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who said, “ an outsider comes to Maharashtra and insults the feelings of Hindu community. Is there a Mughal rule in Maharashtra, that anyone can come and insult Hindus and goes away scot-free?”
In a letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Fadnavis wrote: “The statement made by Sharjeel Usmani at Elgar Parishad event in Pune on 30 January against Hindu community is defamatory, objectionable and is very serious, there is a need for the state government to immediately take strict action on it.. the statement made by him is objectionable and were meant to disrupt the communal harmony. … When it was known what had happened through the Elgar Parishad event in the past, such an event should not have been permitted to happen. How wrong it was to permit this event to happen is now visible through Sharjeel's speech. It is not good to ignore things that happened in the event if the event was given permission."
The feeling was echoed by senior NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal who said the speaker (Usmani) should have kept himself within limits while speaking against a community.
Had the late Balasaheb Thackeray been alive, nobody would have dared make such a provocative speech on the soil of Maharashtra and leave unscathed. A political party like Shiv Sena never takes such remarks lightly, but it is unfortunate that the present government is headed by the Shiv Sena chief. Forget taking action against Usmani, not a single Shiv Sena leader came forward to condemn his provocative speech. The same party, Shiv Sena, in 2018 had described those who assembled at the first Elgar Parishad event as anti-nationals and terrorists. Shiv Sena had then compared the Elgar Parishad activists with Al Qaeda.
Uddhav Thackeray should read what his party organ Saamna had written in its editorial at that time. Shiv Sena was then an ally of BJP and had taken a strong stand, but now times have changed. Shiv Sena is in a cozy relationship with Congress and NCP, and for saving its government, the party has decided to remain silent. Political compulsion is the reason behind this silence. Earlier Shiv Sena leaders used to scream in their quest for the throne, but now they are silent in order to keep their throne intact. Such silence underlines the fact that in politics, ideology does not matter. Political equations now decide the thoughts and actions of a party.
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