According to The News Minute, a case has been filed against Babu Gogineni for hurting religious sentiments.
Many rationalists and humanists have expressed solidarity with Gogineni. He is known as a human rights activist. The activists showing solidarity condemn the actions using the police by religious fundamentalists to silence critics.
The article stated, “Members of the South Asian Humanist Association, Science for Society, Jana Vignana Vedika and Indian Humanists held a joint press meet at the press club in Somajiguda, where lawyers representing Babu were present. Film critic and actor Mahesh Kathi was also present.”
Gogineni got taken by police, recently, because of accusations against him of both sedition and the hurting of religious sentiments, and some other charges.
“The petitioner, Veera Narayana Chowdary, claimed that his religious sentiments were hurt after watching Babu’s earlier speeches, which prompted him to file the case,” the article continued.
Gogineni and others believe that he has the rights of freedom of expression. The lawyers for him believe that this case will not stand in court. However, this may set a precedent or example, along with others, to silence any critics of the fundamentalist religious authorities.
One lawyer said, “The police which is investigating the case will come to a conclusion on how many charges will stand after scrutiny and how many will not, following which they will approach the court.”
This is a crucial time for Gogineni because the attack came when he could not defend himself. Some view this as an attack on Gogineni as well as a larger attack on humanism and rationalism in the early 21st century.
The president of the Lakshman Reddy, Jana Chaitanya Vedika, reported that he has known Gogineni for a long time and has worked with him around the world. The work has been focused on human rights and humanism.
They spoke together at many villages against superstitions and, indeed, their negative consequences on communities. With this form of attack by police, this becomes an attack on the larger freethinking community.
Gogineni’s allies came to the Cyderabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar and with a representation submitted to him. Sajjanar stated that he would look closely at the case.
“The lawyers present also explained that the petitioner, Veera Narayana Chowdary, had filed a private complaint in court, following which the police were ordered to look into the allegations,” the article stated, “As it was a court order, the police first registered a case and then began investigation. The police also informed that the petitioner was yet to submit his evidence to them.”
The full listing of the charges are as follows:
The case was registered under Sections 121 (waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 124a (sedition), 153a (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153b (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 292 (obscenity), 293 (sale, etc, of obscene objects to young person), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
Original publication in Humanist Voices.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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