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“Facing threats after strong criticism”: Nupur Sharma again goes to Supreme Court

New Delhi: Citing “renewed” threats after the Supreme Court’s “unexpected and strong criticism” of her, suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma has again approached the court to halt her possible arrest and club nine cases filed across India over her comments on Prophet Mohammed and Islam.

She’d made made those comments on a TV debate show around two months ago, which led to a diplomatic row besides protests in India. The BJP then suspended her. Two persons have since been killed allegedly over supporting her.

In her earlier plea, too, she’d requested the Supreme Court to club all other FIRs with the one in Delhi, but the court made some scathing comments against her, including that she was “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”. She then withdrew that plea.

In the new plea today — not yet listed for hearing — she argued that “fringe elements have renewed” rape and death threats to her since then.

She’d cited threats in her earlier plea as well. But the judges had said Nupur Sharma’s “loose tongue” had “set the entire country on fire”, and that her comments were either for cheap publicity, political agenda or some “nefarious” activities.

The observations were not part of the final order, though — a fact that may help her case as she seeks some relief again. Also, the number of FIRs has since gone up by three.

The two-judge bench — Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Surya Kant — had come under severe criticism for its observations. At least fifteen ex-judges, besides former bureaucrats retired officers of the armed forces, said that some of the observations were a “virtual exoneration of the dastardliest beheading at Udaipur”.

A tailor named Kanhaiya Lal was murdered in Rajasthan’s Udaipur last month by two men over his social media posts supporting Nupur Sharma. A similar killing took place in Maharashtra’s Amravati.

Two days before that, Justice JB Pardiwala had responded to social media criticism in particular. “Personal attacks on judges for their judgements lead to a dangerous scenario,” he had said, adding, “Social and digital media is primarily resorted to expressing personalised opinions more against the judges, rather than a constructive critical appraisal of their judgments. This is what is harming the judicial institution and lowering its dignity.”