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Mumbai Court summons Javed Akhtar over his remarks comparing VHP, RSS to Taliban, next hearing on Feb 6

Santosh Dubey, the lawyer, had lodged a case against the 77-year-old lyricist-poet in October last year before the metropolitan magistrate’s court in suburban Mulund under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (criminal conspiracy) (punishment for defamation).

A Mumbai court summoned self-proclaimed atheist and Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar on Tuesday in connection with a defamation lawsuit brought by a lawyer over his purported statements against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) during a televised interview last year. 

Santosh Dubey, the lawyer, had lodged a case against the 77-year-old lyricist-poet in October last year before the metropolitan magistrate’s court in suburban Mulund under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (criminal conspiracy) (punishment for defamation).

In the interview to NDTV news channel, Akhtar had drawn comparisons between the Islamic terrorists of the Taliban and members belonging to Hindu organizations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal in the context of the former extremist outfit assuming control in Afghanistan in September 2021.

“The way the Taliban are trying to build a Muslim nation. In the same way, some people present the concept of Hindu Rashtra to us. These people have the same mentality. The Taliban are violent. Are wild. But the people who support RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal have the same mentality,” Akhtar had said.

“They have no love for minorities, like Taliban. They want women to be home, like the Taliban. What is the difference between the two? They say no law is superior to their religious faith, that is what the Taliban say. How are you different from them?” he added.

The complainant, who is said to be an RSS follower, contended that the former Rajya Sabha member brought the name of the Nagpur-based organization into the debate needlessly and defamed it in a “calculated and well-planned manner” in order to obtain political advantage.

“The statement made by the accused during the interview was a well-planned move to defame the RSS as well as to discourage and misguide people who have joined the organisation or would like to join it,” Dubey stated.

After hearing a brief conversation and reviewing the evidence, metropolitan magistrate PK Raut issued a summons to Akhtar. According to the complainant, the case has been postponed until February 6, when Akhtar is scheduled to appear in court.

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