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Sedition case filed against Navjot Sidhu for hugging Pakistan army chief

Navjot Singh Sidhu, a minister in the Punjab government, courted controversy after he was seen hugging Pakistan army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the oath ceremony of new Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2018 17:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Patna
Navjot Singh Sidhu,Sedition case Navjot Sidhu,Pakistan
Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu (Sikander Singh Chopra//HT File Photo)

Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was slapped with a sedition case on Monday by a lawyer in Bihar for insulting the Indian Army after he hugged Pakistan’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime minister.

Sudhir Kumar Ojha, known for indicting celebrities, alleged in his petition filed with Muzaffarpur’s chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Hari Prasad that Sidhu insulted the families of Indian soldiers killed by Pakistan’s army and terrorists sponsored by the country by hugging General Bajwa and sitting next to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’s president Masood Khan on Saturday.

Muzaffarpur town is around 100km from Bihar’s capital Patna.

Ojha said it was unbecoming of Sidhu to attend the celebrations in the neighbouring country at a time when the nation was mourning the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Worse, he said, his actions there put India on a low beside causing insult to the brave Indian soldiers like Lance Naik Paramjeet Singh, whose body was mutilated by the Pakistan army in Kashmir last year.

“I have urged the court to book Siddhu under IPC sections 124 A, 153 B and 504 for hurting the nation’s sentiments and order for his arrest,” he said.

Ojha, who has lodged cases against celebrities including cricket stars, politicians and Bollywood actors over various issues, added the court admitted his plea and fixed August 24 as the next date for hearing in the case.

The cricketer-turned-politician has been under attack by his boss Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh as well as the opposition.

Singh said on Sunday he was “not in favour” of Sidhu hugging the Pakistan army chief. He also clarified that Sidhu’s decision to attend the ceremony had nothing to do with his government, and said the cricketer-turned-politician had gone there in his personal capacity.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan, especially his hug with Pakistan army chief, was “shameful”.

Siddhu, on his part, clarified his stand on the controversial issues.

“If someone (referring to Gen Bajwa) comes to me and says that we belong to the same culture and we will open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary), what else I could do?” said Sidhu while responding to the media queries.

“If you are invited as a guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else but they asked me to sit there,” he added.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 15:50 IST