Dalit scholar Kanwal Bharti’s anxiety does not seem to end. Days after his arrest — he was later granted bail — for taking on the Samajwadi Party government through a Facebook post, Muslim clerics in his home district of Rampur have demanded that he be arrested under the National Security Act (NSA).
Several ulema met Rampur Superintendent of Police Umesh Kumar Singh and alleged that Mr. Bharti had tried to trigger communal hatred in society.
Mr. Bharti was charged under Sections 153 and 295 A of the IPC, which deal with “provocation with intent to cause riot” and “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.”
The clerics claimed that though Mr. Bharti had the right to expression, his statements were communal and could have created disturbances. According to informed sources, those who presented the memorandum to the police included supporters of Urban Development Minister Azam Khan.
The development sent Mr. Bharti into panic mode. He switched off his phone and went underground till late Thursday.
“I am feeling insecure. So I switched off my phone. There is mounting pressure on the administration. They can do anything. They can easily lodge false cases against me, book me for a minor street incident and plant witnesses,” he told this correspondent on Friday morning.
Mr. Bharti who has in the recent past expressed strong criticism of SP leaders, including Mr. Khan, through his writings, said that on the lines of the Noida incident a madrasa was demolished in Rampur too.
However, despite genuine anger from the minority community, no action was taken because Mr. Khan’s rule prevailed in the district.
The Rampur SP said he had received a request from the local Muslim clerics. “The Muslim organisations say their religious sentiments have been hurt [by Mr. Bharti’s FB post] and that the action taken against him was not enough. We are considering legal advice and shall do whatever is legally possible.”
Mr. Bharti said he was not hopeful of getting back his computer, which was confiscated by the police after his arrest on Tuesday. His computer stores around four unpublished books and 250 unpublished articles and e-books.