Press Trust of india

Prophet remarks row: City court asks police to investigate if there is ground to proceed against Nupur Sharma, others

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Srinagar: A city court has asked the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to investigate if there is sufficient ground to proceed against suspended spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nupur Sharma and others for their alleged blasphemous remarks against Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Advocate Mohammad Ashraf Bhat had past week filed an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar seeking punitive action against Sharma and party’s expelled Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal for “blasphemous” remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The complainant had also sought directions for issuing process against the other accused persons including Navika Kumar, Editor ‘Times Now’ and Kirtima Maravoor, Compliance Officer, Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd. (TV Division).

The “accused” were alleged of committing offences including “criminal conspiracy” and “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion”.

The complaint was later transferred to the court of City Magistrate Srinagar.

After hearing Bhat’s counsel N A Ronga, the Magistrate Ajay Kumar in his order said “all the accused persons in the case reside outside the territorial jurisdiction of this court and thus inquiry under section 202 CrPC is mandatory before issuing due process against the accused persons.”

The Magistrate referred the case for investigation to SSP Srinagar under section 202 CrPC (postponement of issue of the process) for “ascertaining whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding in the case.”

“Inquiry shall be concluded before the next date of hearing which has been fixed for 28th of next month,” directed the Magistrate.

The complainant Bhat had sought directions for issuing process against the accused and punishing them for offences under sections of 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration).

He also prayed action against the accused under 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (uttering, words etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) and 505(2) – (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes).

“On 26th of May, Navika Kumar of the ‘Times Now’ had aired a TV-debate ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ with the intention of spreading hatred, stigmatizing and demeaning the Muslim community on national television,” the complainant said.

“At the outset, the entire debate on ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ appeared to be one-sided and partisan violating the basic principles of journalism and those laid down by the esteemed News Broadcasting Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) where the host being completely helpful and supportive towards Nupur Sharma,” the complainant added.

His complaint contended that while Nupur Sharma used “inflammatory and derogatory” remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Jindal endorsed her statement made by tweeting it from his official twitter handle, “uttering similar blasphemous remarks willfully and intentionally.”

“The accused used the television platform to speak such vile comments targeting the Muslim community,” said the complaint adding, “the statements have been made with the intention of causing enmity, hatred and ill will between religious communities and goes against the secular fabric of the country, and the religious tolerance”.

The statement made by Nupur Sharma on Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), the complaint said, is “violative of Indian law and is particularly and blatantly offensive to the Muslim community, irrespective of the context with which it was made.”

The anchor of the show should have openly condemned Nupur Sharma for making such remarks on a national television, but she refrained herself from doing so, which is indicative of the fact that she supported the blasphemous statement, it read.

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