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Kalicharan in Police Custody Till 1 Jan; BJP Leaders Slam CM Baghel Over Arrest

'Godman' Kalicharan had delivered a speech derogating Mahatma Gandhi at a 'Dharam Sansad' in Chhattisgarh.

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Video Editor: Naman Shah

'Sant' Kalicharan, who was arrested by Raipur Police on Thursday, 30 December, days after he made a derogatory speech against Mahatma Gandhi at the Chhattisgarh 'Dharam Sansad', has been remanded to police custody till Saturday, 1 January.

Visuals emerged, soon after, of Kalicharan exiting the court premises, amid cheers of "Jai Shree Ram". He was flanked by the police, followed by the press and his followers, and appeared to be smiling.

Kalicharan had been arrested from Madhya Pradesh's Khajuraho and was subsequently produced in a court, amid shouts of 'Jai Shri Ram' from his followers.

A case had been registered against the 'godman' at the Tikrapara Police Station of Raipur.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh government leaders including the state's Home Minister Narottam Mishra, as well as other BJP leaders including Union Minister Giriraj Singh have condemned the Chhattisgarh government in the aftermath of the arrest.

Kalicharan's Arrest

"Kalicharan Maharaj was staying in a rented accommodation near Bageshwar Dham, 25 km from Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Raipur police arrested him at 4 am today. The police team will reach Raipur with the accused late in the evening," Raipur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agarwal told reporters.

The self-styled saint has been charged with sedition.

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According to Chhattisgarh police, he has been booked under Sections 153 A (1) (A) (punish persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, etc of any particular group), 153 B (1) (a) (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295 a (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class), and 505 (1) (b) (intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public).

"The Chhattisgarh police has arrested Kalicharan Maharaj. His family and lawyer have been informed. He will be presented before the court within 24 hours time," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel told reporters on Thursday.

Madhya Pradesh Govt Objects to Kalicharan's Arrest, CM Baghel Retaliates

"We object to the arrest of Kalicharan. Chhattisgarh's Congress government has violated the interstate protocols by arresting Kalicharan Maharaj without informing Madhya Pradesh police. Federal regulations do not allow this at all," Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said on Thursday, hours after the arrest.

"It was wrong to arrest without informing the Madhya Pradesh police. I have instructed the DGP of Madhya Pradesh to talk to the Chhattisgarh DGP about this," the BJP leader added.

Meanwhile, on being asked about Kalicharan's arrest, Union Minister Giriraj Singh unleashed a slew of jibes at the Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, saying:

“I don’t know how the Chattisgarh CM controls law and order. However, adivasis are perishing from hunger in Chhattisgarh, they are being killed, there is extremism in the state – he should have got rid of extremism. If the Chhattisgarh CM had vowed to finish extremism, then a message would have gone out in the country that he has controlled extremism.”

When the reporter reiterated his specific question about the arrest, Singh continued to complain about Baghel: “That’s what I said, that the CM should finish extremism. But he is doing nothing about that, or about hunger, or poverty.”

Chhattisgarh CM Hits Back

Reacting to the MP Home Minister Mishra's outburst, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said, "Narottam Mishra should tell whether he is happy or sad about the arrest of the person who derogated Mahatma Gandhi. No rules have been violated and the arrest made by Chhattisgarh police is as per procedures."

Further, Chhattisgarh Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu said, "A criminal has been arrested, so he (Narottam Mishra) should not object to it. Usually, the police give information, but there are many types of crimes. Sometimes information is given, sometimes not."

Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh police has taken into custody the owner of the homestay in Chhatarpur district where Kalicharan was staying.

Hindu Mahasabha Protests Arrest, Burn Baghel's Effigy

Hindutva outfit Hindu Mahasabha protested the 'saint's' arrest in Gwalior and set an effigy on fire, in the presence of the outfit's officers and leaders. Raising slogans in support of Nathuram Godse and against the Chhattisgarh government, the protesters warned Baghel that they would not tolerate the insult of "saints and monks."

Speaking to reporters, Hindu Mahasabha's national vice-president Jaiveer Bharadwaj said, "A saint has been arrested in the state and the Chief Minister and Home Minister are sleeping. The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha openly condemns this."

He added that the outfit's Gwalior office would install a photo of Gandhi assassination accused Dr Dattatraya Parchure "tomorrow" and worship it, and challenged the Chhattisgarh government to try and stop them.
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Kalicharan's Remarks and Police Case Against Him: Everything You Need to Know

Hindu religious leader Kalicharan had delivered a speech allegedly derogating Mahatma Gandhi at a two-day long 'Dharam Sansad' organised in the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh's capital city on Saturday, 25 December.

In purported videos of the event that have been circulated on social media, 'Sant' Kalicharan could be heard saying:

“They (minorities) seized power through politics here. And the great **** Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi led us to this ruin. Salutations to Godse ji that he killed that ****.”

"See, doing operations is necessary. For these pimples and boils. Otherwise, they turn into cancer. I'm not asking you to do riots...," Kalicharan can be further heard saying in the video.

A case had been filed in relation to the Dharam Sansad, after a complaint by former Mayor Pramod Dubey, who had attended the event. The complaint was filed against Kalicharan, for using "abusive words for Mahatma Gandhi."

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Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code provides for punishment for "statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes," while Section 294 provides for punishment for one who "sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place."

An FIR was filed in the case on the complaint of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee President Mohan Markam.

Meanwhile, Kalicharan was also booked by the Pune police on Tuesday over a hate speech delivered at another event.

Kalicharan, Kargil War Hero Booked for Hate Speech in Pune

The Pune Police on Tuesday booked religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj, Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, and four others for allegedly delivering hate speeches during an event in Pune on 19 December.

Among the six men who were booked is Digendra Kumar, who retired from the Indian Army in 2005, The Indian Express reported. Dipak Nagpure, a city BJP leader, is also among the accused.

The men have been booked under sections 295 (a) (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) among others.

The programme, 'Shivpratap Din', was organised by Samasta Hindutva Aghadi at Natubaug, the daily reported.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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