Sedition charge against Delhi Minorities panel chief over 'provocative' post
Delhi Minorities Commission Chairperson Zafarul Islam Khan has been booked under sedition charges over a controversial social media post. Khan has been accused of promoting enmity between religious groups. He had posted an apology after facing online backlash. Reportedly, a petition has also been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking action against him. Here's all that happened.
On Tuesday, Khan wrote about the "persecution of Muslims in India" and thanked Kuwait for "standing with Indian Muslims." Referring to "Hindutva bigots," Khan wrote, "Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arab and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynchings and riots. The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche."
Thank you #Kuwait for standing with #IndianMuslims! #Islamophobia #Islamophobia_In_India @kuna_en @kuwaittimesnews @OIC_OCI @Abdulmane@ZahraniAbidi @LadyVelvet_HFQ @DrAlshoreka @AHMAD_ALWAHIDAH @majedalenzi @JamalBahrain@arabtimeskuwait @gulf_news @arabnews pic.twitter.com/MdOOBviNdU— Zafarul-Islam Khan (@khan_zafarul) April 28, 2020
On Friday, Khan issued an apology, adding that the post was in the context of the Northeast Delhi violence and he never intended to hurt people. He said his tweet was "ill-timed and insensitive," adding, "I apologize to all whose sentiments were hurt."
Statement by Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan (1 May 2020) pic.twitter.com/9d5609e8rS— Zafarul-Islam Khan (@khan_zafarul) May 1, 2020
According to a Hindustan Times, the Delhi Police's Special Cell on Thursday charged Khan under IPC Sections 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups). The FIR was filed by a Vasant Kunj resident, who alleged Khan's post was "provocative." Khan told HT, "I have not seen the FIR. I will comment only when I see it or know about it."
According to Live Law, a petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking action against Khan. The petition—filed through advocate Siddharth Acharya—stated that Khan has "accused the Hindu Religion of causing lynching, riots and professing hate campaigns against Muslims without providing any substantial proof." The petition stated that Khan's comments were made with a "malafide intention to malign the entire Hindu community."
However, in a public statement, a group of scholars, activists, and other persons, have criticized the backlash targeting Khan. The statement read, "The hateful propaganda against Dr. Khan is one more illustration as to how certain Indians fail to differentiate between Hinduism, a religion, and Hindutva, which is a supremacist political ideology." The group demands action against those spreading "vicious false propaganda" against Khan.