Remarks against Mahatma Gandhi: Raipur police arrest religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj

Days after an FIR was registered against Kalicharan for hate speech and for allegedly derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi, the Chhattisgarh police arrested the religious leader from neighboring Madhya Pradesh, triggering a war of words between leaders of both states.

An FIR was filed on Sunday based on a complaint from Congressman Pramod Dubey, who claimed that at a ‘Dharam Sansad’ held on 25-26. December i Raipur, Kalicharan gave a speech in which he abused Mahatma Gandhi and “promote tensions between different communities”. Dubey was present at Sansad, where Kalicharan was giving the speech.

While the FIR was previously registered under sections 505 (2) (promotion of class enmity) and 294 (obscene act in public) in the IPC, Raipur police said sections were related to rebellion (124A) and rebellious religious sentiment (295A), i.a. was added during the study.

According to senior police officials, while teams were being sent to Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra to arrest Kalicharan, he was eventually found 25 km from Khajuraho. “He had rented a room near Bageshwar Dham. He was arrested at 4 in the morning,” said Raipur SP Prashant Agrawal.

Late Thursday, Kalicharan was presented before the session court in Raipur, where he was remanded in custody for two days.

The arrest led to riots in BJP-governed Madhya Pradesh, with Prime Minister Narottam Mishra claiming that Chhattisgarh police had violated norms by arresting Kalicharan without informing Madhya Pradesh police. In a tweet, Mishra Madhya Pradesh instructed the DGP to register his protest with his Chhattisgarh counterpart.

Madhya Pradesh DGP Vivek Johri said: “I have spoken to the Chhattisgarh DGP and registered my protest against the way the whole operation was carried out.”

In response to Mishra’s comments, Chhattisgarh Prime Minister Bhupesh Baghel said: “Strict action will be taken against those who abuse the Father of the Nation … People who question the arrest … I would like to ask them if they are dissatisfied, that such a man has been arrested.? ”

Union Minister Giriraj Singh targeted Baghel, saying the CM should focus on fighting “extremists” in the state. “I do not know how he handles law and order in the state, but had he focused on getting even one area free of extremists, it would have been better,” said Singh, who is on a trip to Bhopal.

Chhattisgarh BJP leader Brijmohan Agrawal, who was present at Dharam Sansad on Sunday, tweeted in support of Kalicharan with the hashtag #ReleaseKalicharanMaharaj.

At the trial in Raipur, where Kalicharan was presented after a medical examination, a group of people raised slogans to seek his release.

In Maharashtra, State Interior Minister Dilip Walse Patil said state police will seek Kalicharan’s custody and investigate the cases registered against him during Sunday’s speech. “The use of derogatory language against the Father of the Nation is a great crime. A case of rebellion should be brought against him. “Maharashtra police will investigate the cases registered against him in the state,” the minister said.

FIRs had been registered against Kalicharan at police stations in Akola and Thane town over the speech he gave in Raipur. Sources said both FIRs are being transferred to Raipur.

Kalicharan, originally Abhijit Dhananjay Sarang, is a resident of Akola in Maharashtra. He gained popularity in 2020 after a video of him reciting Shiv Tandav Stotram went viral. Kalicharan had in his speech in Dharam Sansad, who had dropped out of secondary school, in addition to speaking out against Mahatma Gandhi, claiming that since 1947 Muslims have been trying to gain power through politics. He also said that people should be prepared for a “Hindu Rashtra”.

Meanwhile, a Chhattisgarh Food and Civil Supplies Department official was arrested in Raipur for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi in a Facebook post. Sanjay Dubey, an assistant food officer, was suspended and later arrested on the basis of an FIR filed on December 27th.

Input from ENS, Mumbai, Bhopal


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