Actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel on Monday moved the Bombay High Court, seeking to quash a first information report registered against them for allegedly trying to create hatred and communal tension through their social media posts. The two have been summoned for questioning on Monday and Tuesday.
The petition filed by the sisters sought the court to stay the summons asking them to appear before the police for questioning and a direction to the police to not take any coercive steps against them, said advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, representing Ranaut and Chandel.
A court in Mumbai had on October 17 directed the police to file an FIR against Ranaut and Chandel for allegedly trying to create communal tension. The complaint was filed by casting director Munnawarali Sayyed.
Sayyed said an investigation was needed to ascertain the motive behind their tweets and to find out “who are the people backing such hatred to create communal tensions and sentiments against the government”. The complaint also accused Ranaut of “maliciously bringing religion in all her tweets”. He said that a divide was being created by artists belonging to different religions.
The women were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to committing malicious or deliberate acts with the intention of outraging religious feelings of citizens, sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language and common intention.
The Mumbai Police had summoned Ranaut and Chandel on November 18 for the third time to record their statements in the case. Both Ranaut and Chandel had failed to show up the last two times for questioning. Siddiquee had responded to the first notice, claiming the women were busy with the wedding of their brother in Himachal Pradesh until November 15.
In a separate case, a Mumbai court had ordered an inquiry against the sisters on October 29 in connection with allegedly derogatory tweets made by them against Muslims. The order came after advocate Ali Kashif Khan Deshmukh approached the court, saying that the Amboli police station had not taken any action on a complaint filed by him against the sisters.
Ranaut, who has made several controversial statements recently, is also facing an FIR filed in October by the Karnataka Police for her tweet against farmers protesting the Centre’s new agriculture laws. She had referred to the protestors as “terrorists”.
On November 3, lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar filed a criminal defamation complaint against Ranaut over her comments about him in an interview with Republic TV in July. While speaking about the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Ranaut reportedly told Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami that Akhtar was part of a “suicide gang” and that “he can get away with pretty much anything in Mumbai”.
Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai apartment on June 14, in what the police initially said appeared to be a case of suicide. Since his death, an acrimonious back-and-forth had started between Ranaut and the Shiv Sena led-Maharashtra government. She had criticised the handling of the Rajput’s death case by the Mumbai Police and said she didn’t feel safe in the city. The matter escalated when she compared Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Centre provided Ranaut Y-Plus security cover amid the fracas.