Samajwadi Party Leader Azam Khan Acquitted in Hate Speech Case
New Delhi, May 24, 2023: In a significant development, Azam Khan, a prominent leader of the Samajwadi Party, was acquitted today by an Uttar Pradesh court in a hate speech case dating back to 2019. The decision came after the Rampur court overturned the earlier verdict of a lower court, which had found Khan guilty of delivering a hate speech targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The hate speech case revolved around Khan's allegations that the Prime Minister was responsible for creating an atmosphere in the country that made it difficult for Muslims to coexist. However, the special court accepted the appeal filed against Khan's sentence, leading to his acquittal.
Following the initial verdict in 2022, Khan was disqualified as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). A subsequent by-election was held in the Rampur Sadar seat, where the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) candidate Akash Saxena emerged victorious, defeating the Samajwadi Party's Asim Raja, a close aide of Khan.
Expressing satisfaction with the court's decision, Khan's counsel Vinod Sharma stated, "We have been acquitted in the hate speech case. We are happy that we have received justice." Sharma further emphasized that the court's judgment upheld their contention that Khan had been falsely implicated in the case.
It is worth noting that Azam Khan enjoys a considerable following in Rampur and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh. However, he currently faces a total of 87 cases, encompassing charges ranging from corruption and theft to land grab. These cases have been filed against him since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.
As the acquittal marks a significant legal victory for Azam Khan, it remains to be seen how this development will impact his political career and the dynamics in Uttar Pradesh's political landscape.