Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The Sambhal police have registered a case on charges of sedition against local Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq for equating the Taliban with India’s freedom fighters. 

Confirming that a case was lodged against the SP MP, Sambhal Superintendent of Police, Chakresh Mishra said that he had received a complaint against the MP for drawing a parallel between Indian freedom fighters and Taliban. “Such statements qualify as sedition. So an FIR has been registered against the MP under Sections 124A (sedition), 153A, 295 IPC. Two other persons – Faizan Chaudhary and Mohammad Mukeem — had made similar statements in a Face Book video, they have also been booked,” added the Sambhal SP.

The complaint against the MP and others two was given by a local BJP leader Rajesh Singhal, said the police sources.

Meanwhile, reacting to the case lodged against him, Barq denied making any such statement. “My statement has been misinterpreted. I am a citizen of India and not of Afghanistan. So I have no business with what is happening there. I support my government policies,’ said the Samajwadi Party MP.

However, earlier defending the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Barq had endorsed their action and had equated it with Indian struggle for freedom. He had said that like India fought for her freedom from British, Taliban also wanted to free their country and run it. Calling it an internal matter of Afghanistan, the SP MP had claimed that Taliban was a force which did not allow even strong countries like Russia and America to settle their feet in Afghanistan.

Barq’s observation had drawn sharp reaction from UP CM Yogi Adityanath. He took the opportunity in the state legislative council to slam the opposition MP over the issue. “He was shamelessly supporting the Taliban. It means supporting their barbaric act.”

“We are a parliamentary democracy. Where are we heading? We are supporting people who are a blot on humanity,” the CM added.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya compared Barq’s comments with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks after Kabul fell to the Taliban. “Anything can happen in the Samajwadi Party. There are people who cannot sing the Jana Gana Mana, someone might support the Taliban, others could level allegations on police after terrorists are caught. This is appeasement,” Maurya said outside the state Assembly.