Javed Akhtar, the veteran lyricist and poet, was issued a show-cause notice in a civil defamation suit filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member over his comments comparing the right-wing organisation to the Taliban, Bar and Bench reported.
Seeking compensation of Re 1 and a permanent injunction against Akhtar from making any such statements against the RSS, a member of the organisation, Vivek Champanerkar, filed the defamation suit before Thane’s Chief Judicial Magistrate in Maharashtra.
The notice is returnable on November 12.
Alleging that the lyricist made derogatory remarks against the organisation, the suit claimed that it was for “mere political score in a well-planned move to set narrative against the RSS.”
Champanerkar also said in his complaint that he would have appreciated if Akhtar criticised RSS in a “parliamentary manner” but the malicious allegations compelled him to file the suit.
The complaint is based on an interview that Akhtar, an active commentator on Indian politics, had given to a news organisation where he had drawn parallels of the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to the Muslim extremist and military organisation Taliban that recently took over Afghanistan.
On September 3, in an interview with NDTV, Akhtar had said that he could see an “uncanny resemblance” between the Taliban and the people in India who want to become like them. He said these people often impose restrictions on women and are keen to turn the country into a Hindu rashtra.
“The Taliban is barbaric, and their actions are reprehensible, but those supporting the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal are all the same,” he had said.
Akhtar was both praised on social media and received major backlash for his comments. Both the BJP and the Shiv Sena condemned his statements. Following this, Akhtar wrote an opinion piece in Shiv Sena’s publication Saamana, stating that “Hindus are the most tolerant majority” and “India can never be like Afghanistan.”
A few days ago, an advocate and member of the RSS filed a criminal defamation case against Akhtar at Kurla magistrate court for his statements in the interview. Meanwhile, another Mumbai-based lawyer and RSS member sent the lyricist a legal notice seeking damages of Rs 100 crore for making “false and defamatory” remarks against RSS in the same interview.