Sedition charge against former MLA who spoke of ‘human bombs’ & ‘against deities’ dropped

NEW DELHI :ON THE recommendation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT), the charge of sedition has been dropped against former BSP MLA Shingara Ram Sahungra, who had been arrested on August 16 by Nawanshahr police, days after addressing a protest dharna held in connection with the demolition of the Guru Ravidas temple in New Delhi.

It was alleged that he had spoken against Hindu gods and also provoked youths to keep weapons and become ‘human bombs’.

The charges under sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religions, race, place of birth, residence, language etc.), 295-A (hurting religious sentiments), 298 (uttering words…with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings) etc. still stand in his case.

The speech

Sahungra is presently lodged in a Ludhiana jail. He had made the speech in Nawanshahr on August 12, a day before the ‘Punjab Bandh’. In a video, he was purportedly seen saying that no battle can be fought without weapons in this country, and asking them, “Can’t we become ‘human bomb’, we will follow do and die…”

Following his arrest, a SIT was formed by the Deputy Inspector general (DIG) of police, Ludhiana, Ranbir Singh Khatra. A four member team included SSP Nawanshahr Alka Meena, SP Investigation Wazir Singh Khaira, SP (investigation) KHanna , Jasbir Singh and CIA Crime Cell incharges Nawanshahr Ajitpal Singh.

After his speech, representatives of various Hindu organisations took out a protest march and held a dharna in front of SSP Alka Meena’s office of the SSP, Alka Meena, and submitted a complaint against the former MLA demanding immediate action against him. They also submitted videos of his speech in which, they alleged, he targeted the Parliament, Supreme Court, the upper caste and the Prime Minister.

After that, the town had remained tense for days.

Bharti Angra, the main complainant in the case, said police had given the ex-MLA a boost by dropping the sedition charge, adding that they would decide their next course of action after the court order Tuesday.

In 2016, Sahungra had been booked for trespassing and theft in a government house in Hoshiarpur district where he had lived for 15 years, allegedly illegally and again re-entered forcibly. He was appointed MLA in 1992 and 1997.