The Kolkata Police on Saturday issued a look out notice for suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma after she failed to appear before it for the fourth straight time, PTI reported, citing law enforcement officials.
A look out notice is generally issued by a law enforcement agency in order to prevent an accused person from leaving the country.
Cases have been registered against Sharma at the city’s Amherst Street and Narkeldanga police stations in connection with disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad. Both the police stations had summoned her twice, the news agency quoted a senior police officer as saying.
While the first information report at the Amherst Street police station was filed on June 23, the case at the Narkeldanga police station was registered on June 13, The Hindu reported.
The cases have been filed under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
On June 20, Sharma had skipped the summons from the Narkeldanga police station citing security concerns and asked the police to give her four weeks to appear.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said on June 29 that the state government would ensure that action was taken against the suspended BJP spokesperson. Meanwhile, Banerjee had questioned why cases were filed against journalist Mohammad Zubair and activist Teesta Setalvad, according to The Hindu.
“You don’t arrest those who abuse religion,” she had said in an apparent reference to BJP-ruled states. “You give them security. But our state summoned her. We won’t leave her.”
Sharma’s remarks about Prophet Muhammad, made during a debate on the Times Now television channel on May 26, had sparked violent protests in several parts of India, including in West Bengal. On Monday, the West Bengal Assembly had passed a resolution against her comments.
On Friday, the Supreme Court remarked that Sharma was single-handedly responsible for tensions that erupted after her remarks. The court said that her comments were disturbing and that she should have made a public apology.