Delhi Police on Monday registered a first information report against the organisers of an event where Bharatiya Janata Party MP Parvesh Verma called for the “total boycott” of a community, in remarks apparently aimed at Muslims reported PTI.
Verma, referred to “these people” in his boycott call and did not name a specific community as videos on social media showed. The politician made the comments at a “Virat Hindu Sabha” organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and some other Hindutva organisations to protest against the killing of a man named Manish in Delhi’s Sunder Nagri area on October 1.
“An FIR has been registered against the organisers under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code for not taking permission from police,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahadra) R Sathiyasundaram told PTI.
However, Vishwa Hindu Parishad has denied the allegation and said that the police even suggested them the venue. “Let alone permission, we fixed the venue at Ramleela Ground in Dilshad Garden after suggestion and recommendation by senior police officers,” Vishwa Hindu Parishad spokesperson Vinod Bansal told PTI. “We earlier had planned to hold the gathering near Manish’s house but on the request of police changed it to Ramlila Maidan.”
During Sunday’s event, Verma urged the crowd to boycott the community by not supporting their business.
“Wherever you see them, I say that if you want to set their minds straight...then there is only one remedy, that is complete boycott,” Verma said. “Do you agree with this? Raise your hand if you agree. Say with me, we will completely boycott them, we will not buy any goods from their shops, we will not employ them.”
Verma told The Indian Express that he had not named any religious community in his comments. “What I said was that the families whose members carry out such killings should be boycotted,” the BJP MP from West Delhi claimed. “Such families, if they run any restaurant or any business, should be boycotted. There have been such crimes in my area also. And in such cases, their business should be boycotted.”
Verma had made inflammatory statements apparently targeting Muslims earlier as well. In January 2020, he had said that “lakhs of protestors” from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality could enter citizens’ homes to “rape their sisters and daughters and kill them”.
In late 2019 and early 2020, Shaheen Bagh was an important site of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. The Act fast-tracks citizenship to refugees from six non-Muslim religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Critics fear that the law, clubbed with the National Register of Citizens, will be misused to target Muslims in the country.
At the event on Sunday, BJP MLA from the Loni town of Ghaziabad district, Nand Kishor Gurjar, claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi was “bringing trains filled with jihadis” to the city in order to get their votes, The Print reported. He claimed that “30 lakh jihadis” had come to Delhi from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Gurjar subsequently told the news website that he was not against all Muslims, but only those who came from outside the country. He also called for a first information report against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for “endangering this city with these jihadis” for their votes.
A Hindu supremacist leader, Yogeshwar Acharya, urged people to behead and cut the hands of those who attack them, India Today reported “If needed, cut their hands, behead them,” he said at the rally. “At maximum, you will go to jail. But the time has come to teach these elements a lesson.”
Another Hindu supremacist leader, Nawal Kishore Das, exhorted people to procure guns, with or without licences. “Get guns...Get licenses,” he said. “If you don’t get licences, don’t worry. Those who come to kill you, do they have licences? So why do you need a licence?”
The Delhi Police said that no permission was taken for organising the “Virat Hindu Sabha”. An unidentified senior police officer told PTI that footage related to the speeches delivered at the event will be examined.
Sunday’s event was organised by the Hindutva organisations despite Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East Delhi) Sanjay Kumar Sain denying any “communal angle” in the killing of Manish. On October 2, he had clarified that the murder took place due to an old rivalry.
The police have arrested six persons identified as Sajid, Aalam, Bilal, Faizan, Mohsin and Shakir in connection with the case.