The Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday booked All India Majlis-e-Itthehad-ul-Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi for allegedly trying to hurt communal harmony with his “provocative speech” in Barabanki district, The Hindu reported.
At a public meeting, Owaisi said that a “100-year-old mosque was martyred” in the district, according to the newspaper. He was referring to the demolition of the mosque in Ramsanehi Ghat in May by the district administration.
Calling it a “political demolition”, Owaisi accused the administration of not following the law. He also criticised the Opposition parties for not speaking out against the incident.
The district administration had not made any reference to the mosque when carrying out the demolition, claiming that it was an “illegal residential complex” opposite the sub-divisional magistrate’s residence.
District Magistrate Adarsh Singh had said the stakeholders of the mosque were issued a notice on March 15 and asked to make submissions regarding ownership, following which residents of the complex had fled.
The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board had criticised the demolition, calling it an abuse of power.
On Friday, Barabanki Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said that Owaisi was booked under sections 153a (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant) and 170 (personating a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
The AIMIM chief was also charged under the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act for violating coronavirus protocol and the conditions laid down for the meeting, Prasad said.
He claimed that Owaisi’s comments on the mosque were factually incorrect, reported PTI. “He also made indecent and baseless remarks against the PM [Narendra Modi] and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister [Aditaynath],” the police officer said.
In his speech, Owaisi had reportedly said that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, there have been efforts to turn the country into a “Hindu Rashtra”.
He also said that BJP leaders talk about injustice suffered by Muslim women due to triple talaq but remain silent on their plight when they are rejected by Hindu men.
“My bhabhi [Modi’s wife] stays alone in Gujarat but nobody has an answer for her,” Owaisi said.
Owaisi had alleged that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath “sacrificed” the Barabanki mosque when there was talks of replacing him in the state, reported India Today.
The AIMIM chief also spoke about the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was killed in 2015 on suspicion of cow slaughter at a village near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar.
“Such atrocities are taking place because Modi is the prime minister and the BJP government is helping such elements,” the AIMIM chief said.