Three people were booked on Tuesday for alleged hate speech during a condolence meet in Agra. Union minister Ram Shankar Katheria and Fatehpur Sikri MP Chaudhary Babulal, who too allegedly made inflammatory comments, were not named in the FIR.
District secretary of eastern unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Ashok Lavania, corporator and vice-president of the BJP’s Braj Kshetra unit, Kundanika Sharma, and Prashant Chaudhary were booked for their speeches during a condolence meet for Arun Mahaur, vice-president of Agra’s VHP unit who was shot dead in the communally sensitive Mantola locality on February 25.
Senior superintendent of police, Agra, Dr Preetinder Singh said the role of others present at the event was also being examined.
Meanwhile, the National Students’ Union of India handed over a memorandum to the Agra SSP, demanding that a case be registered against Katheria as well.
Katheria, however, denied his involvement.
“What has been published in one of the newspapers is false. I had not taken the name of any community. I had said that the culprits, who had murdered the VHP leader, should be given death sentence. I had also said that the Hindu community should unite for (its) safety,” he said.
Nonetheless, the Samajwadi Party demanded that Katheria be sacked, alleging that his remarks were “anti-national”, while Congress alleged it showed that the BJP and RSS resorted to divisive agenda, especially ahead of elections.
Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, said the real agenda of the NDA government was being “exposed”.
The VHP, however, claimed it was a government tactic against the organisation.
“If the state government is resorting to such acts, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will launch a statewide agitation,” said Surendra Jain, joint secretary, central unit of the VHP.
“The police are applying pressure tactics at the behest of state government. The party organisation would deal with the matter,” said Sharma, one of the accused.