HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Dalit scholar arrested for Facebook post on Durga

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bareilly, August 06, 2013
First Published: 18:48 IST(6/8/2013) | Last Updated: 10:54 IST(7/8/2013)

Kanwal Bharti, noted Dalit scholar, eminent writer and recipient of several national awards, would never have imagined that commenting on a social networking site over the ongoing IAS officer Durga Shakti’s suspension episode would land him into trouble.

State urban development minister Azam Khan’s media convener on Tuesday lodged an FIR against the Rampur based writer blaming his comment communal and an attempt to breach peace.

Kanwal was arrested by the Civil Lines Police from his residence-Awas Vikas Colony under Kotwali police circle. However, he has been granted bail.

Kanwal, who recently got retired as president of Ambedkar hostel run by Social Welfare Department, Rampur, faced the action for his facebook post over the burning issue of Durga Nagpal’s suspension and the role of UP government in the whole issue.

Fasahat Ali Shanu, Azam’s media convener in his report alleged that Kanwal's comment was provocative and may spread disharmony among the people.

The whole issue began after Kanwal in his recent Facebook post blamed the UP government for being ‘biased’ in Durga’s case.

“How come fastest? You don’t know that in Rampur an old Madarsa was bulldozed and its manager was put behind the bars for opposing the action. He is still in jail. But Akhilesh’s government didn’t suspend anybody in Rampur. Is it so that in Rampur its Azam Khan who rules not Akhilesh”, states the facebook post on which Shanu raised the objection.

This the second time Rampur was the centre of attention for a similar issue within a week. Earlier, Azam Khan had issued a statement holding Gautam Buddha Nagar’s district magistrate equally responsible in Durga’s case and demanded his suspension.

Shanu further blamed that Kanwal had also mentioned that Azam Khan can do anything in Rampur which is his constituency, even god could not stop him. “There is nobody above god. Such type of comments may create disharmony among the locals during the ongoing month of Ramadan so such comments should be banned”, said Shanu. Police arrested him and produced before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) VK Pandey where he was released on bail.

Kanwal Bharti, son of a Dalit cobbler Bhagwan Das, who was raised in the slums of Rampur, is a famous poet and writer. Many of his poems have also been included in the syllabus of Post Graduate studies in various national universities.

However, his arrest has had no impact on his Facebook followers and admirers who resorted to protests on Facebook and strongly condemned the act.

Kanwal’s work has also been included in the books prescribed by Delhi University, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Allahbad University, Aligarh Muslim University and Lucknow University.

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