Congress leader Raja Pateria arrested for ‘kill Modi to save Constitution’ remarks
Pateria claimed that his remarks were misunderstood, saying that he meant defeating the prime minister in elections.
Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Raja Pateria was arrested on Tuesday morning, a day after a video of him urging people to “kill [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi to save the Constitution” was shared widely on social media, PTI reported.
Pateria, a former state minister, was arrested from his residence in Hata town of the Damoh district around 5.30 am.
“A police team went to his house around 5.30 am to inform him about the arrest,” Sub Divisional Officer of Police Virendra Bahadur Singh told PTI. “They took him to Pawai [in Panna district] around 7 am.”
Several Bharatiya Janta Party leaders on Monday had shared Pataria’s video on Twitter.
“Modi will divide people on the basis of religion, caste and language,” the Congress leader is heard saying. “The future of Dalits, Adivasis and minorities is in danger. If you want to save the Constitution, be ready to kill Modi – in the sense of defeating him.”
On his part, Pateria claimed that his remarks were misunderstood, reported The Indian Express.
“I did not mean to literally kill the Prime Minister but to defeat him in elections,” Pateria told the newspaper. “It was about defeating the government that is the supporter of [Nathuram] Godse’s ideology instead of Mahatma Gandhi’s.”
On Monday, a first information report was filed against Pateria in Panna. He was charged under Indian Penal Code provisions pertaining to intentional insult to provoke breach of peace, statements conducive to public mischief, criminal intimidation and provocation with intent to cause riot.
Several BJP leaders had castigated Pateria for his remarks. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had claimed that the reality of those participating in the “facade of the Bharat Jodo Yatra” has come to the fore.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi lives in the hearts of the people,” he said. “The entire country has faith in him. Congress leaders cannot challenge him in the field, and so they speak of his murder.”
State BJP chief VD Sharma said that the Congress leader’s statement was serious and condemnable. “Was such a conspiracy planned during the Bharat Jodo Yatra that recently went through Madhya Pradesh?” he questioned. “This should be investigated.”
The Congress also issued a show cause notice to Pateria, according to The Indian Express.