Abu Asim sentenced in 12-year-old case


The Mazgaon court in Mumbai sentenced Maharasthra Samajwadi Party leader and MLA Abu Asim Azmi to two years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 11,000 on 30 April for making inflammatory and hate-spreading speech in the year 2000 (February) in a rally at Nagpada to incite communal riots. Metropolitan magistrate Sanjashri Gharat also sentenced, in addition to Azmi, four more persons viz. Ms. Vaqarunnisa Ansari, Ali Shamsi, Lalbahadur Singh and Ehsanullah Khan to two years imprisonment and same amount of fine to each. When all the five persons who were present in the court sought time to file an appeal in the higher court, the magistrate suspended the sentence order. They paid the fine and also furnished personnel sureties and were allowed to go. The 12-year old issue was raised in the assembly by Shiv Sena and BJP MLAs who stalled the House proceedings and demanded action against Abu Asim who is a former MP (Rajya Sabha).

Reacting to the sentence, Abu Asim said that there are many loopholes in the verdict and even the police witnesses have not confirmed police claims. He expressed his surprise that these important points have been ignored while delivering the judgment. He said that on many occasions Bal Thackery and Raj Thackeray and other Shiv Sena, BJP and saffron brigade leaders made and continue to make inflammatory and hate mongering speeches but no action is taken against them or very weak cases are framed against them and they are discharged immediately but if we raise our voice against oppression and injustice, our speeches are dubbed “inflammatory” and we are jailed. He said that the verdict against him and others smacks of prejudice and it is influenced by pressure by government and police. He asked what kind of justice is this that when a person fights for his community’s rights and justice to Muslims he is thrown into jail but when Thackeray, saffronites & company make inflammatory and hate-mongering speeches, government and police as well as courts play the role of silent spectators. He said that he will challenge this verdict in the session court soon.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2012 on page no. 4

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