The MP-MLA court in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, has awarded Samajwadi Party MLA Azam Khan three years of imprisonment on Thursday. Court found him guilty for hate speech against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The District Magistrate of Rampur had charged Khan of hate speech in 2019. The DM lodged the case during run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, the court has also given him bail. The court has given Azam a week’s time to file an appeal against the decision.
Hate speech is not the only crime by Azam Khan. He is facing about 80 cases on various charges, including land grabbing, cheating and criminal trespass. Before 2017, no one could dare to file a case against Azam Khan due to his political clout. The change has come since 2017, when Yogi Adityanath became the CM. This is the first case where he has been found guilty by the court. Remaining cases are pending.
His wife Tanzeen Fatima and son Abdullah Azam are also facing some cases. All three are presently out on bail.
Law enforcement agencies had lodged this case against the senior SP leader on April 9, 2019. The various section invoked are IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505(1) (publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report), as well as Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with elections) of the Representation of the People Act.
Complainant, District Magistrate Anil Kumar Chauhan was the election official at that time. The official alleged that Khan in a hate speech in Milak Vidhan Sabha area had “used foul language for people on Constitutional posts. Azam Khan threatened them, and tried to flare a riot.”
Azam was inciting Muslims: Complainant
According to Anil Kumar, Khan sought votes from a community in the name of religion. And he also tried to spread hatred which is against the Model Code of Conduct.
Khan had defeated BJP’s candidate Jayaprada from Rampur Lok Sabha in the 2019 poll. Later, Khan vacated his Lok Sabha membership after he was elected as an MLA in the state elections this year.
“Modiji has created an atmosphere in the country where it is difficult for Muslims to live… The Congress candidate should not just ask for Muslim votes, but should also seek votes from Hindu brothers. You are seeking the votes of Muslims so you can divide their votes and ensure a win for the BJP… Those who call you dogs and puppies, you should take revenge on them… Are you not seeing the kind of person the Collector of Rampur is? He has brought three other officers with him… Within a month, this Collector has made Rampur hell and has left no stone unturned to rake up riots here… So many such Collectors have urinated in my office… I appeal to you that you should not split your votes and should not vote for the Congress candidate who is here to ensure a win for the BJP… The Collector has become blind, and claims to be very idealistic… I have his report, and I know what kind of family he comes from. He is doing this on directions from the Chief Minister. The CM is himself a criminal. He is accused of 302 (the IPC Section for murder).”Complainant
Law seems to be catching up with Azam Khan.