A court in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district issued an arrest warrant against Swami Prasad Maurya in a seven-year-old case on Wednesday, a day after he resigned from the state Cabinet, reported PTI. The court has asked Maurya to appear before it on January 24 in an alleged hate speech case.
“I believe in justice and in the judicial system,” Maurya told India Today when asked about the warrant.
The case dates back to 2014 when Maurya had allegedly made hurtful statements against some Hindu deities. He was in Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party at that time.
“Goddess Gauri or Lord Ganesha should not be worshipped during weddings,” Maurya had allegedly told a gathering in 2014, according to NDTV. “It is a conspiracy by upper caste-dominated system to mislead and enslave Dalits and backward castes.”
In 2016, an arrest warrant issued against him in the matter was put on hold by the Allahabad High Court.
On January 6, the Sultanpur court had asked him to appear on Wednesday. The court renewed his warrant after he failed to show up.
Since Maurya resigned from the state Cabinet on Tuesday, speculations are rife that he would join the Samajwadi Party. Earlier on Wednesday, Maurya said that he will announce his decision on Friday.
Soon after Maurya had resigned, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had shared a photo of him with Maurya on Twitter. In his tweet, Yadav wrote: “Swami Prasad Maurya, a champion of social justice and equality, and other leaders, workers and supporters along with him are welcome in the Samajwadi Party.”
Maurya, who was the labour minister in Adityanath’s Cabinet, is an MLA from Padrauna. He had joined the saffron party after quitting the Bahujan Samaj Party before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017.
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be held in seven phases from February 10 to March 7. The results will be declared on March 10.