Police in Rampur on Tuesday arrested Dalit writer Kanwal Bharti for “trying to spread communal tension” through posts on Facebook that criticised the Samajwadi Party government and Urban Development Minister Azam Khan over the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal.
Bharti had said that Nagpal was suspended for demolishing the wall of a mosque, but no officer was suspended in Rampur where an old madrasa was demolished, and this was because the city was ruled by Azam Khan, and not by the government.
On August 2, Bharti wrote in Hindi on his Facebook page: “How is your Aaj Tak the fastest? You don’t even know that an old madrasa was bulldozed in Rampur and its operator was sent to jail for opposing it, and he is still in jail. Akhilesh’s government did not suspend any officer in Rampur. That is because Rampur is ruled by Azam Khan and not Akhilesh.”
An FIR was lodged against Bharti at Rampur’s Civil Lines police station on Monday afternoon on the complaint of one Fasahat Khan, a resident of the Imli Asmat Khan area. Police said Fasahat complained that Bharti had posted on Facebook with the intention of spreading communal tension, and had hurt the Muslim community.
Rampur superintendent of police Umesh Kumar Singh said the complaint was lodged for writing posts that could spark communal tension. Singh said Bharti had written that a madrasa had been bulldozed, whereas in reality only illegal construction at graveyards had been removed.
The SP said Bharti was booked under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).
He said Bharti was arrested on Tuesday and produced before the court of the chief judicial magistrate, who gave him bail.
Bharti said police picked him up from his home around 8 am on Tuesday and detained him at the police station for over four hours before producing him in court where he first came to know what he was being charged with. He said his computer, which contained several of his unpublished articles, was seized by the police.
Bharti alleged the complainant is an associate of Azam Khan’s, and the complaint had been filed at the minister’s behest. Despite repeated attempts, Azam Khan could not be reached for a comment.
On Monday night, Bharti had posted on his Facebook page that the government was being run by “four chief ministers”, Akhilesh, Azam Khan, SP