Sunday, December 24, 2017

Taking oath in state language becomes a crime: Oath in Urdu leads to FIR in Aligarh

Perhaps, nowhere a person could be booked for taking oath in a language, let alone the state's official language.

But in Uttar Pradesh, taking oath in Urdu can be risky.

Years ago legislators were not allowed to participate in Assembly proceedings because they insisted on taking oath in Urdu. A couple of decades later, the situation hasn't changed.

An elected councillor (corporator) of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) faced opposition from the BJP when he tried to take oath in Urdu in Aligarh.

Further, Musharraf Husain, the BSP leader, was charged with 'malicious intent to outrage religious sentiments' under section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code.

The BJP corporators had opposed his decision to take oath, assaulted him and created ruckus. Further, they managed to get a case registered against him, that too of hurting religious sentiments!

Is it democracy? Is it a fair system? Isn't there clear bias visible across the administration--from political parties to the police department? How could the FIR be entertained?

Urdu is one of the official languages recognised by Indian union. Further, it is the language of Uttar Pradesh--UP. There are more than 50 million Urdu speakers in the state, which is the natural homeland of the language. Also along with Hindi, it is the second official language here.

[The problem with Urdu in UP is unique. The institutional bias, communalism and systematic attack on the language is strongest in this state.

READ: Discrimination towards Urdu in UP, language must gets its constitutional rights]

Clearly, the bias is sickening. It reflects the deep seated prejudices. In fact, disciplinary action should have been taken against the policemen who took this action. It is seditious and infringes on fundamental rights when you book someone for using the state language.

"They want to communalise even Urdu which is symbolic of our syncretic culture. Urdu is not related to any religion. So my taking oath in Urdu does not provoke or hurt anyone's religious feelings,” he told The Hindu.

“Till this morning, at least when I woke up, India was still a democracy and as per the law Urdu and Hindi are official languages in Uttar Pradesh. As far as I know the rules an oath can be taken in any of the 22 languages in the Constitution - Urdu is one of them,” he added. Mr. Husain said he would approach the court against the police FIR.

UPDATE: Several days later, under pressure, when there were voices about biased action, police registered the counter FIR against 'unidentified persons' for assault with BSP leader. Of course, no one named in the FIR in this case.

Also, read these links. LINK & LINK