Communal Slogans Raised at Delhi Event; Ex-BJP Spokesperson 'to Be Held'
In purported videos of a gathering at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, people can be heard shouting communal slogans.
Former BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay and others purportedly involved in the incident, where incendiary slogans were raised against the Muslim community at a rally held at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, 8 August, will be arrested, the Delhi Police said on Monday, news agency ANI reported.
The Delhi Police is handling the matter as per law and any communal disharmony will not be tolerated, it reportedly said.
Earlier, an FIR had been filed against unknown persons.
The gathering — a march against colonial laws, had been called by Ashwini Upadhyay, The Indian Express reported. The rally had reportedly been organised without prior permission from the Delhi Police.
Purported videos of the gathering, at which hundreds were in attendance, have been widely circulated on social media. The assembly can be heard shouting communal slogans in these videos.
The videos are being verified by the police, DCP (New Delhi district) Deepak Yadav had told The Indian Express.
Why Was the Gathering Called?
The gathering was reportedly called as an initiative under the 'Bharat Jodo Movement' – that had been endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a recent episode of Mann Ki Baat.
Rallying against colonial-era laws, the attendees had collected to march in support of the Uniform Civil Code, media-in-charge of the movement, Shilpa Srivastava, told The Indian Express.
What Had Happened at the Gathering?
Purported videos of the gathering that have surfaced on social media depict a large crowd of people shouting inflammatory, violence-inciting slogans in unison.
National Dastak reporter Anmol Pritam, who was present at the event, was allegedly coerced and assaulted by the mob as well.
"An attempt was made to make me say 'Jai Shri Ram' by intimidating me. When I refused, I was also hit and pushed. You can see for yourself in the video," Pritam said in a tweet, sharing a video.
“Either leave the country... If you want to stay, then you have to say (Jai Shri Ram),” a man could be heard telling Pritam in the video, while he resisted the mob's intimidation.
The 'Bharat Jodo Andolan' media spokesperson denied any knowledge of provocative sloganeering at the event.
“There was no such (inflammatory) slogan in my knowledge… there were 5,000 people and if five-six people in some corner would be shouting such slogans, then we disassociate ourselves from them,” Srivastava had told The Indian Express.
What Ashwini Upadhyay Said
Ex-BJP spokesperson and Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay denied knowledge of anti-Muslim sloganeering at his event, claiming that the incident in question happened after his rally had ended.
"The rally was from 10 to 12 pm. Whereas the sloganeering happened around 5 pm. Our rally was outside Park Hotel but the slogans were given near Parliament House police station. I do not know who they were," the BJP leader told Bar & Bench.
"To check the veracity of the video and take strict action against those who spread religious frenzy, I have submitted a written complaint to @DCPNewDelhi. British law is bad, that's why religious frenzy is spread to get fame," he said in a tweet, tagging PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"Blaming one another or making allegations and counter-arguments will not reduce the religious frenzy. Demand to change the lousy English laws and to make a law to hand 10-20 years of imprisonment by confiscation of 100% property from fanatics. Religious fanatics should also get the same punishment as the rapists get," he said in another tweet.
Upadhyay, in July, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stringent penal code for ensuring law and equality, in place of the present Indian Penal Code that dates back to the colonial era.
"I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the patriots who have joined the #BharatJodoAndolan. Now you can organise an event in your city, I will surely come. I believe that before the 75th anniversary of Independence, (15 August 2022) all English laws will be abolished and a new law will be made," he said in a tweet after the event.
(With inputs from ANI, The Indian Express, and Bar & Bench)
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