Five Fine Arts students of the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly making objectionable graffiti to protest against the amended Citizenship Act, PTI reported. The graffiti included the word “Modi”, said the police.
In the graffiti, they wrote “no CAB Modi”, and made the “swastika” sign in place of “o” in the word “Modi”. The ‘swastika’ symbolises fascism as it was used by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party. It is, however, also considered a sign of good luck by Hindus. They also painted the lotus, which is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll symbol.
“They used slogans with certain symbols in their graffiti to intentionally hurt religious sentiments of a particular community and affect public peace and cause riots against members of a community,” the police said in a statement. “They also damaged public property.”
The police had launched an investigation on Monday after noticing the defaced walls. They used CCTV footage to track down the students. The graffiti was painted on walls outside the police headquarters, Kala Ghoda Circle, Fatehgunj pavilion and a hostel near Rosary School, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Sandeep Chaudhary.
Those arrested were identified as Pulkit Gandhi, Rajat Vyas, Ruchir Nair, Aryan Sharma and Ayajin Jonson. The police have also seized three two-wheelers and mobile phones of the accused, reported Ahmedabad Mirror. The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Two others, identified as Renil and Rishi Nair, were absconding, said Chaudhary.
DCP Chaudhary claimed the arrested students were not aware of the difference between Citizenship Amendment Act and the Citizenship Amendment Bill. “It seems they were provoked by messages circulated on social media,” he added.
The police claimed the graffiti was meant to instigate people to protest against the amended act in Vadodara also like the rest of the country. The amendments have relaxed conditions for migrants of six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship.