A year-wise listing of sedition cases filed under Sec 124-A, with the latest status. Reproduced with permission from the Repeal Sedition campaign.*
June 10, 2021: FIR against film-maker Aisha Sultana for comments on Lakshadweep administrator.
The Lakshadweep police registered a sedition case against actor, filmmaker and film activist Aisha Sultana for commenting that the Centre has used the Union Territory’s administrator Praful K Patel as a “bio-weapon” on the people of Lakshadweep Islands.
Case details: BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president C Abdul Khader Haji has filed a case against Sultana under Section 124 A of IPC (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) at the Kavaratti police station According to the complaint, Sultana had participated in a panel discussion on the issues before the people of Lakshadweep in a Malayalam news channel, In the course of the discussion, Sultana blamed Patel’s decisions for the rise of coronavirus cases on the island and stated that the Centre had used it as a “bio-weapon”. She said, “Lakshadweep had zero cases of COVID-19 . Now, it is reporting a daily spike of 100 cases. What the Centre has deployed is a bioweapon. I can say this clearly that the central government has deployed bioweapon”.
Case status: Sultana applied for anticipatory bail. On June 15, Justice Ashok Menon asked the Karavatti police to file a statement in the bail plea. On Jun 17, 2021, Sultana was granted interim anticipatory bail by the Kerala High Court. In his order, Justice Ashok Menon said that she should appear before the Kavaratti police for interrogation on June 20 as per the notice served on her under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The final order on the bail application has been reserved.
Meanwhile, amidst protests, 15 BJP members from the Lakshadweep Islands, including Abdul Hameed Mullipuzha, BJP state secretary, resigned from the party to protest the sedition case against filmmaker Aisha Sultana.
May 15, 2021: Rajina Parbin Sultana along with Rafikul Hussain, Mehjabin Hasin, Jahidul Islam, Hasan Mustafijur Rahman and Rasedul Hoque arrested on charges of sedition in Assam for allegedly dishonouring the Indian flag.
Case details: On May 14, 2021, Rajina Parbin Sultana along with Rafikul Hussain, Mehjabin Hasin, Jahidul Islam, Hasan Mustafijur Rahman and Rasedul Hoque had a lunch party on the occasion of Eid at Tengnamari village of Abhayapuri town in Assam.
Next day, a picture showing them dining went viral because the table cloth resembled the Indian national flag. After a Bongaigaon-based unit of the Bajrang Dal informed the police, an FIR was filed on May 15, 2021. The police tweeted that the persons who had ‘dishonoured’ the Indian National flag by using it as a table cloth during a meal in the house of Rajina Parbin Sultana had been apprehended and a case had been registered.
The case was filed under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971 and Section 124 A IPC was also added.
After eight days, five of the accused were released on bail, however, Rajina continued to be in custody.
Case status : On June 5, 2021, Rajina Sultana secured bail, following an order of the Guwahati High Court.
April 7, 2021 : Assamese writer Sikha Sarma was arrested on sedition charges over a facebook post.
Case details: Writer Sikha Sarma was arrested on sedition charges, reportedly for a Facebook post about the security personnel killed in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh. The Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta said that Sarma had, in a Facebook post on April 5, said: “Salaried professionals who die in the line of duty cannot be termed martyrs. Going by that logic, electricity department workers who die of electrocution should also be labelled martyrs. Do not make people sentiment, media.” Two Gauhati High Court lawyers, filed a first information report against her at the Dispur police station and an FIR was lodged against her.
Case status: Sarma was sent to judicial custody and granted bail only on April 26 by Ajit Borthakur of the Guwahati High Court. The FIR case no. 1281/21 was lodged under Section 294 (a) / 124 A / 500 / 506 of the Indian Penal Code and under section 45 of the IT Act.
May 14, 2021: YSRCP’s rebel MP from Andhra Pradesh, Raghu Rama Krishna Raju, arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Andhra Pradesh police under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. Subsequently, police lodged sedition cases against news channels TV 5 and ABN Andhrajyoti for airing the “offending speeches” made by Raju.
Case details: A statement released by the Andhra government said that there was information that the MP was indulging in hate speech thereby creating tension within certain communities and attacking government dignitaries. Raju, who is known for his anti-YSRCP stances, was earlier charged with fraud and corruption in a loan default case.
Case status: On May 21, 2021, the Supreme Court granted bail to Krishna Raju on grounds of his health as he had undergone open heart surgery.
On May 31, 2021, the Supreme Court said that the Andhra Pradesh government should not take any coercive steps against Telugu news channels TV 5 and ABN Andhra Jyoti and issued notice to the government. Justice DY Chandrachud said ‘the Andhra Pradesh government’s act of filing sedition cases against the channels is muffling channels. it was time we define limits of sedition.’
May 13, 2021: Sedition charges against village pradhan Mohammad Aslam Khan and four associates Salman, Atiq, Farid and Arif in Belauta village, Sitapur district, Uttar Pradesh.
Case details: Aslam Khan, the newly-elected pradhan of Belauta village and his four associates were arrested on May 8 for allegedly praising Pakistan and raising anti-India slogans. Sitapur superintendent of police RP Singh said a preliminary probe was launched and the video/audio footage of Khan’s remarks were analysed. “He was clearly heard raising pro-Pakistan slogans and sedition charges were added to the FIR on the basis of solid evidence,” he said.
The pradhan’s elder brother, Shakeel Khan, alleged that a rival candidate had “planted” youngsters in the crowd, who raised pro-Pakistan slogans. “He videographed the procession and used the footage to frame my brother,” he said.
Station house officer, Thanagaon, Anil Singh said, “Aslam and his associates, Salman, Atiq, Farid and Arif, had come out on the streets to celebrate the victory and raised pro-Pakistan slogans, which could have triggered a communal clash.
Case status: Mohammad Aslam, Salman, Atiq, Farid and Arif were arrested on May 8 and sent to judicial custody.
Feb 15, 2021: Disha Ravi, student and climate change activist, arrested by Delhi police
Case Details: A climate change activist and and founder of Fridays for Future, India, was picked up from her home in Bengaluru by Delhi police in a stealthy operation and remanded to five days judicial custody. She was charged with alleged involvement in a online toolkit on the farmer’s protest in India that the Swedish climate change youth activist Greta Thunberg had tweeted, which got international attention. Police said that the toolkit, a communication document for activists, would foment unrest and was seditious. Police claimed she worked with pro-Khalistan activists.
Case status: Ravi was released on bail after five days in judicial custody. Her arrest was widely condemned.
Jan 29, 2021: Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Vinod K Jose (Caravan), Zafar Agha, the Group Editor-in-Chief of National Herald, and Ananth Nath, the Editor of Caravan booked on charges of sedition.
Case details: An FIR was lodged at the Sector-20 police station charging them with tweeting and spreading allegedly fake news pertaining to the death of a farmer during the tractor rally on January 26, 2021. Delhi Police said that a protester was speeding in his tractor and had run over barricades near ITO, due to which the vehicle overturned and the protestor fell out of the tractor and died as a result.
FIRs were lodged in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi under sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (Criminal Intimidation), 505(2) (Statements conducing to public mischief), 124-A (Sedition), 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and 120-B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Case status: On Feb 3, Tharoor, Mrinal Pande and Sardesai moved the Supreme Court against the sedition charges. On Feb 9, 2021, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, stayed the arrest of the Congress MP and the six journalists.
Jan 17, 2021: Two senior editors of ‘The Frontier Manipur’ detained on charges of sedition.
Case details: Paojel Chaoba, the executive editor of online news portal The Frontier Manipur and the portal’s editor Dhiren Sadokpam were detained on Jan 17, 2021 and a case under the Unlawful Atrocities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code has been filed against them, along with M. Joy Luwang, the author of an article published in The Frontier Manipur on January 8.
The FIR filed by the officer commanding P. Sanjoy Singh on January 17, at the Singjamei police station in Imphal West district against The Frontier Manipur publishing the article mentions that it spotted the article with the headline “Revolutionary Journey in a Mess” on January 17, 12:30 pm. Soon the FIR was filed charging Luwang and the editors of the portal for “attempting to bring hatred/contempt/disaffection against government; criminal conspiracy and statements conducting to public mischief with common intention by being Sympathiser of unlawful organization punishable under 124A/120B/505B/34 of the IPC and section 39 of the UAPA Act”.
Case status: The editors were released after spending a day in police custody and issued a statement that the article “Revolutionary Journey In A Mess – by M Joy Luwang criticising “armed revolutionary groups” in the state for straying from their “revolutionary cause”, was published by ‘oversight’. They expressed regrets for its publication. Their lawyers say there is no clarity on their case status as they were in police custody and not produced before a magistrate.
*This is a listing collated from news-sources and is maintained by the Repeal Sedition campaign. It is reproduced here with permission. For more details on the Repeal Sedition campaign, please click here or check out the Repeal Sedition Facebook page and Repeal Sedition Youtube channel.