Gujarat Police registers 2nd FIR against Islamic preacher Salman Azhari in alleged hate speech case

BHUJ — Police in Gujarat on Tuesday registered a second first information report (FIR) against Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Mufti Salman Azhari, who is under arrest, for allegedly delivering a provocative speech at a religious event at Samakhiyari in Kutch district, an official said.

Azhari was arrested from Mumbai on Sunday in connection with a separate hate speech case lodged at Junagadh on Saturday, and brought to Ahmedabad by a team of the Gujarat A nti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). From Ahmedabad, he was taken to Junagadh.

“An FIR has been registered against Mufti Salman Azhari for delivering a provocative speech at a religious function organised at Samakhiyari on January 31. Police permission was granted for the event, but the content of the speech was similar to that of the Junagadh event (held the same day),” Kutch (East) Superintendent of Police Sagar Bagmar said.

He said Azhari was booked under sections 153B (promoting enmity between different religious groups) and 505 (2) (making statements conducive to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code in connection with the event in Kutch district.

The Gujarat police had arrested the preacher from Mumbai for allegedly delivering a hate speech at an event held in an open ground near the ‘B’ division police station at Junagadh on the night of January 31. The police swung into action after a video of his speech went viral on social media.

After the video went viral, an FIR was registered against Azhari and local organizers of the event Mohammad Yousuf Malek and Azim Habib Odedara. While Malek and Habib were arrested on Saturday, Azhari was apprehended the next day.

As per the Junagadh FIR, the arrested men had taken permission from police for the gathering stating that Azhari will speak about religion and spread awareness on de-addiction.

Instead, he made an inflammatory speech, said the police document. — (PTI)