Four Uttar Pradesh ministers to move high court in blasphemy case

Four ministers in the Mayawati government will move the Allahabad High Court against a lower court order on registration of a criminal case against them for publication of an allegedly blasphemous article in a journal.

The order against Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Babu Singh Kushwaha, Swami Prasad Maurya and Daddu Prasad was issued by Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Ashraf Ansari of Jaunpur, about 250 km from here, Saturday.

Maurya refuted the charges and told : “We have been framed and we will move the high court against the order.”

The ministers face charges under penal provisions related to injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion and uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of a person.

The journal, Ambedkar Today, brought out by a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader’s son, has the four ministers as patrons of its editorial board.

The court order came after a complaint moved by Jaunpur resident, Radhey Shyam Verma, June 9.

Verma sought to draw the court’s attention to an article published in the journal that allegedly hurt Hindu sentiments.

Taking serious note of the complaint, Ansari ordered lodging of criminal cases against the four ministers and five others, including the editor and publisher of the journal.

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