Cops arrest atheist society chief | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Cops arrest atheist society chief

Dec 31, 2022 10:45 PM IST

The Dalit activist allegedly made derogatory comments on the birth of Lord Ayyappa, besides ridiculing Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu, while addressing a meeting of the Atheist Society of India at Kodangal a few days ago

Hyderabad

Police said Bharata Nasthika Samajam (Atheist Society of India) president Bhairi Naresh aresh was taken into custody at Kamalapur in Hanamkonda district, after tracking his mobile call data. (HT Archives)
Police said Bharata Nasthika Samajam (Atheist Society of India) president Bhairi Naresh aresh was taken into custody at Kamalapur in Hanamkonda district, after tracking his mobile call data. (HT Archives)

Dalit activist and Telangana president of Bharata Nasthika Samajam (Atheist Society of India) Bhairi Naresh was arrested on Saturday for his alleged blasphemous comments against Hindu gods in general and Swamy Ayyappa of Sabarimala in particular, police said.

Vikarabad superintendent of police N Koti Reddy said Naresh was taken into custody at Kamalapur in Hanamkonda district, after tracking his mobile call data. “Another activist Dolu Hanumanthu, who organised a programme at Kodangal town a few days ago where Naresh made alleged derogatory comments on Hindu gods, was also arrested,” Reddy said.

Both of them were produced in a local court in Vikarabad and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days in Parigi sub-jail, he said, adding that the police would consider options to book him under the Preventive Detention (PD) Act.

The SP said a case was registered against Naresh under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Dalit activist allegedly made derogatory comments on the birth of Lord Ayyappa, besides ridiculing Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu, while addressing a meeting of the Atheist Society of India at Kodangal a few days ago.

Hindu groups, particularly devotees of Lord Ayyappa, staged state-wide protests on Friday demanding action against Naresh, after a video of his speech went viral in the social media.

Tension prevailed at Kosigi town, when a large number of devotees of Lord Ayyappa staged a demonstration and assaulted Naresh’s follower Shankar. The police quickly reached the spot and whisked him away.

Similar protests were staged by several other Hindu groups at various places across the state. At Mangalhat, followers of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA T Raja Singh staged a demonstration on Saturday, demanding stringent action against Naresh.

In a video message, Singh questioned why the police, who had earlier booked him under PD Act for questioning the show of stand-up comedian Munawar Farooqui, were hesitating to book a similar case against Naresh, who insulted Hindu gods.

BJP state president Bandi Sanjay also condemned the comments made by Naresh against Hindu gods. “These non-believers are making blasphemous comments against the Hindu gods only with the support of the Telangana government,” he alleged.

The Vikarabad SP said cases were booked at various places in Telangana, including Kodangal, Hyderabad and Warangal, against Naresh by various religious groups, stating that he had hurt the sentiments of the Hindus. “I appeal to them to maintain restraint and law will take its own course,” he said.

The SP also sounded a note of caution to the organisers of such meetings stating that they should not entertain such controversial persons. In the past, too, the police invoked the PD Act against persons who made provocative remarks inflaming religious sentiments. “Similar action will be taken in this case too,” the SP said.

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