UP corporator takes oath in Urdu, charged with “intent of outraging religious sentiment”

  • An officer said while oath-taking in Urdu is not illegal, the police acted because of the violence

ALIGARH – The Uttar Pradesh (UP) police on Thursday booked a newly-elected municipal corporator in Aligarh Musharraf Husain for “malicious intent of outraging religious sentiment” after he took oath in Urdu on Monday.

Husain was beaten and assaulted allegedly by BJP councillors after he took oath in Urdu.

The police complain against Husain, a corporator councillor was filed by a BJP corporator Pushpendra Kumar in Banna Devi police station.

Kumar alleged that it was because of Husain taking oath in Urdu that led to “a possibility of breakdown of law and order”. He also alleged that while every other corporator was taking oath in Hindi, Mr. Husain took oath in Urdu “with the intention to provoke and hurt religious sentiments of other people”.

The police registered a case against Mr. Husain under section 295 A of the IPC (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

Husain on his behalf rejected the charge and showed the rulebook. “This case is clearly an instance of political vendetta and bullying. They want to communalise even Urdu which is symbolic of our syncretic culture. Urdu is not related to any religious. So my taking oath in Urdu does not provoke or hurt anyone’s religious feelings,” he told the Indian press.

“Till this morning, at least when I woke up, India was still a democracy and as per the law Urdu and Hindi are official languages in Uttar Pradesh. As far as I know the rules an oath can be taken in any of the 22 languages in the constitution — Urdu is one of them,” he added. Husain said he will approach the court against the police FIR.

The oath taking ceremony in Aligarh on Monday became violent with the corporators from BJP and BSP engaing in shouting and fights. BJP corporators protested when few BSP and SP corporators took oath in Urdu. Some religious slogans were also raised during the fight.

According to Jitendra, the Inspector of the police station, the charge under which Husain has been booked in “non-bailable” and he could be arrested soon. He said that taking oath in Urdu was not illegal but after Husain took oath in Urdu it led to unruly and violent scene in which police had to intervene.

BSP which won two out of 16 posts for mayor in the State, won the mayor seats from Aligarh and Meerut.