The police in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has charged the state’s former Governor Aziz Qureshi with sedition charges for criticising the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath government.
The UP Police filed a First Information Report against Qureshi after a leader of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Akash Saxena filed the complaint at Civil Lines Police Station in Rampur District on Sunday.
Qureshi is a senior member of India’s main opposition party Congress who served as head of the state of Uttar Pradesh in 2014. He has also served as the 15th State Minister of Mizoram and as a State Minister of Uttarakhand.
Earlier on Saturday, talking to the media in Rampur, Qureshi compared the Yogi Adityanath-led government with “blood-sucking demons.” Qureshi was visiting Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s house where he met the jailed parliamentarian’s wife Tazeen Fatma.
Saxena’s complaint said that Qureshi’s remark was getting traction on social media and the statement can create tension between two communities and even lead to communal riots.
The police have charged the former governor under sections 124A sedition, 153 A for promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion, race, etc., 153B for imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration, and 505(1)(B) for intent to cause fear or alarm to the public.
Earlier in July, the Supreme Court of India criticised the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government over its misuse of the sedition law. The court said that the indiscriminate use of the Sedition law was like a saw in the hands of a carpenter who cuts the entire forest instead of a tree.