FIR filed against Amit Shah for incendiary speech in riot area

BJP claims case against Modi's right-hand man is an example of vote-bank politics.
The Uttar Pradesh police on Sunday registered a case against Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Amit Shah for making controversial speeches in riot-hit sections of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, in which he said that the forthcoming poll would be "the election of honour and revenge”.

The speeches, which were first reported on, have attracted the provisions of section 153 of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to "promoting enmity between different groups", and section 125 of the Representation of The People Act, which deals with "promoting enmity between classes in connection with election".

Shah was booked by the Bijnore district administration. “A case has been lodged under various sections of the IPC by the District Magistrate regarding some objectionable part in Shah’s speech,” said Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha in Lucknow.

The BJP immediately criticised the move. "It is not a bona fide FIR but an FIR designed for vote-bank politics by rank abuse of police powers under the pressures of government," senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference.

Amit Shah is the right-hand man of the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. In May he was dispatched to UP  to manage the party's campaign in the state that sends the largest number of candidates to the Lok Sabha.

On Thursday, he addressed a meeting of Jats in Raajhar village, 40km from Muzaffarnagar, which was wracked by riots in August and September that left 49 people dead. "For the integrity of this community, the answer is Modi government,” he said. “Not the government who gives compensation to those who killed Jats.”

Shah added, “This is the time to avenge. The leaders standing next to me” – he pointed to Suresh Rana and Hukum Singh – “have also been humiliated. A man can sleep hungry but not humiliated. This is the time to take revenge by voting for Modi. This will defeat both the governments: the one at the Centre and UP government who lathi-charged and tortured our leaders.”

The honour theme spilled over into the next meeting in the Raja Rani banquet hall in Shamli district.  This time, Shah was joined by Ajit Singh, the headman of Lissad, one of villages worst affected by the riots, who stands accused of fanning the violence. Several khap leaders of the Jat community were also present.

The meeting started with a request from Udayvir Pehelka, an octogenarian Jat leader: “If Amit Shah has come to talk to us, he must promise that he will help us withdraw all the false cases against the Jats and secondly, address a national problem, which is to control the population of this country, else soon enough votes from our community will not count and only” – he stopped to make a sign indicating a beard under his chin –  “they will be present everywhere”.

When Shah took the stage, he declared, “This election is the election of honour and revenge.” He said that women in UP were not safe. “And when we protect them, we are called rioters because Mullah Mulayam is busy defending the minority”, he said, making a reference to the support Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party gives to the area’s Muslims.

Shah quoted Modi’s tweet, promising “to stop pink revolution and start green revolution”. The pink revolution referred to the slaughter of cows and animals, he explained. “Beggars have turned millionaires by running butcher houses,” Shah claimed, taking another swipe at the area’s Muslim community.

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