Lucknow: An FIR has been registered against Urdu poet Munawwar Rana for allegedly defending the recent killings in France over a caricature of Prophet Muhammad, police said on Monday.
Rana had made the controversial comments in an interview to a news channel after three people were killed in a knife attack at a church in Nice last week. A few weeks ago, an assailant had decapitated a French middle school teacher who showed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad for a class on free speech.
The case against Rana has been lodged at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow on Sunday under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), an officer said.
The poet has also been booked under IPC Section 505 (statements conducing public mischief) and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, the officer said.
Police have lodged the FIR taking cognisance of the TV interview and a probe is on, the officer said.
In a purported video clip of the interview that went viral on social media, Rana can be heard saying: "If any person makes such a bad cartoon of my father or mother, then I will kill him." Asked if he is supporting the entire incident, he said: "I will kill him..."
When contacted by PTI, Rana said the comments were misconstrued and it was made in the context of India.
"If anyone makes an indecent and vulgar picture of our gods and goddesses -- Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Saraswati, and the person making it is a Muslim or anyone else, I will kill such person as he is spreading hatred," he said. "And it requires immense courage to kill a person hailing from your family or community."
"The person who made the cartoon (in France) had done a wrong act and the person who murdered the cartoonist did an extremely wrong act," Rana said.
The poet asserted that he did not endorse murders taking place anywhere in the world, pointing out that in the Ballabhgarh case in Haryana, he had tweeted that both the youths should be shot at the same place where they had shot dead a 21-year-old woman last week.