Delhi Police arrested Hindu Sena leader Vishnu Gupta on Wednesday for allegedly making a “false complaint” about beef being served at Kerala House, hours after chief minister Oommen Chandy asked the Prime Minister to act against policemen who conducted a “raid” on the state guest house.
“Gupta has been arrested under Section 107 (abetment) and 151 (knowingly joining assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse) of the IPC,” joint commissioner of police MK Meena told IANS.
Another police official said Gupta was on police radar over several cases and also accused of attacking former Aam Aadmi Party leader and lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Gupta was detained in Tilak Nagar area on Wednesday morning. Deputy commissioner of police Jatin Narwal said Gupta was being questioned but did not give details.
Faced with intense criticism, Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi had on Tuesday contended his men had not raided the Kerala House. He also said his force was mulling action against Hindu Sena leader Gupta for making a “false complaint”.
“The moment we receive any complaint, we will act upon it. Otherwise also, we are contemplating action against the caller under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code (which relates to providing false information to cause public servant to use his lawful power against another person),” said Bassi.
Police had given the complaint priority because it had the potential to affect communal harmony, especially because of Gupta’s record. “The caller was already in police’s notice because of his past record,” said Bassi.
Delhi Police’s action against Kerala House on Monday was condemned by the chief ministers of West Bengal, Delhi and Assam and Left parties. They demanded action against the Delhi Police, which reports to the Union government.
Parliamentarians from Kerala protested the “beef raid” at the Kerala House on Tuesday and demanded the dish be brought back to the menu.
In a letter sent to Modi on Tuesday, Chandy described the Delhi Police’s action as a “raid” that violated all norms.
“The raid was conducted without any permission or prior intimation to the Resident Commissioner (of Kerala House). The Kerala government has filed a formal complaint to the Commissioner of Delhi Police,” he wrote. All items on the menu at the state guest house are “entirely within the confines of law”, he added.
Chandy asked Modi to instruct home minister Rajnath Singh to take appropriate action against officers responsible for the police action. He also told reporters the police action was “not acceptable” and “unwarranted”.
Staff at the Kerala House told reporters that 20 policemen accompanied by Hindu Sena members had entered the canteen to check if beef was being served there. The canteen removed dishes made with buffalo meat – which were described as “beef” dishes – from the menu after the police action.
Officials from the Kerala House told IANS they would bring back dishes made with buffalo meat from Wednesday after getting the go-ahead from chief minister Chandy.
The MPs from Kerala who protested against the police action said there was nothing unlawful about buffalo meat being served at the Kerala House if it was lawfully purchased from local vendors.
“This is an infringement on the rights of the people of Kerala. This is a property of people and government of Kerala. We condemn this police action,” said A Sampath, who represents Attingal parliamentary constituency.
“This is all a part of Sangh Parivar agenda. This is an attempt to stoke communal tension. They will not succeed in imposing these things in Kerala since they don’t have any foothold there.”
Lok Sabha MP PK Sreemathi said: “This is an attack on federalism. What people eat is their right. No one has the right to tell what they can eat and cannot eat.”
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh, who visited Kerala House, said Delhi Police should act against minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, who had admitted on camera that he eats beef. “Will Bassi go and arrest him? A lot of MPs consume beef,” said Singh.
Rijiju was quoted as saying by a newspaper that he ate beef, but later retracted his comment.