Sharjeel Usmani. Photo Credit: The Indian Express.

Sedition Charges filed against Sharjeel Usmani in Lucknow

Days after an FIR was filed against former Aligarh Muslim University student Sharjeel Usmani in Pune, for ‘promoting enmity between different groups’, another FIR has been filed against Usmani in Lucknow, this time with charges of sedition included, reports RHEA BINOY.


An FIR under few charges, including sedition, has been registered against former Aligarh Muslim University student, Sharjeel Usmani in Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station, in connection to his speech at the Elgar Parishad in Pune.

According to The Indian Express, the FIR was filed by Anuraj Singh who saw the speech online accused Usmani of “creating hate” against the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.

The FIR in Lucknow has been filed 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 the sections of the IT Act.

On Tuesday, Pradip Gavade, a local leader of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha which is BJP’s youth wing, filed a police complaint against Usmani with the Swargate Police Station in Pune, after BJP in Maharashtra had accused him of hurting religious sentiments. The case was registered under 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups), said Pune Police commissioner Amitabh Gupta. However, the charges of sedition were not registered in the FIR filed in Pune.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also said on Wednesday that Usmani will be arrested “from whichever state he is in”. Deshmukh tweeted, “Police have investigated the video clippings of the Elgar event held on 30th in Pune and a case has been registered against Sharjeel Usmani for his offensive remarks. He is currently not in Maharashtra but we will arrest him from whichever state he is in be it Bihar, UP, Gujarat or elsewhere.”

The Lucknow FIR includes charges of sedition even though the Supreme Court has maintained that the charges for seditions are accounted by written or spoken words which “have the effect of bringing contempt of dissatisfaction or the idea of subverting government by violent means”

The Elgar Parishad took place on 30 January in Pune, which was also addressed by writer Arundhati Roy and Justice (retd) BG Kolse Patil, among others.

Sharjeel Usmani was previously arrested by Uttar Pradesh’s anti-terrorist squad in July last year in connection with the campus protest at Aligarh Muslim University, against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019. He was charged with IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting while armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (committing offences in the prosecution of a common object of an unlawful assembly), 153 (inciting riots) and 153 A (carrying arms in a procession)

However, Usmani was granted bail by the sessions court in Aligarh in September 2020.

(Rhea Binoy is a journalism student at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune and is an intern with The Leaflet.)