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Catholic Priest Arrested for 'Hate Speech' Against Modi, Shah in Madurai

The priest was booked under multiple sections of the IPC after clips of him speaking at an event were widely shared.

Updated
India
1 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.</p></div>
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A Catholic priest was arrested in Kallikudi, Madurai on Saturday, 24 July, for allegedly making 'hate speech' against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and DMK Minister, reported ANI.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Tamil Nadu called for the priest's arrest under the National Security Act (NSA). The accused, Panavilai parish priest Father George Ponnaiah, had a case filed against him on Friday, 23 July in Kanyakumari.

A protest demanding the priest's arrest will be held later this week, on 28 July.

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After the priest spoke at an event organised at Arumana on 18 July, clips of his speech were widely circulated. In the videos, Ponnaiah allegedly accused BJP MLA MR Gandhi of being the main culprit in the 1982 Mandaikadu communal riots, adding that the BJP and RSS supporters were ashamed to name PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

He has now been booked under various sections of the IPC, for trying to spread hatred between religious groups and insulting 'Bharat Mata'.

Ponnaiah was arrested by a special team of Madurai rural disrict police near Pandi Kovil while allegedly attempted to flee in a car to Chennai, according to TS Anbu, the Inspector General of Police (South Zone). The IG added that the priest had been handed over to Kanyakumari Police for further investigation.

On Tuesday, 21 July, a history professor in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh was sent to jail for purportedly making derogatory remarks against Union Minister Smiti Irani. The accused, Shaharyar Ali, surrendered in a court after he was charged for an alleged obscene Facebook post against Irani in March, earlier this year.

(With inputs from ANI)

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