Tamil orator Nellai Kannan was booked on Tuesday by Tirunelveli city police in Tamil Nadu for allegedly making provocative comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, The News Minute reported.
Kannan made the remarks at an anti- Citizenship Amendment Act rally, organised by the Social Democratic Party of India, on Sunday. “There is one guy called Amit Shah. [Modi] is the Prime Minister but [Amit Shah] is his brains,” he said. “If Amit Shah is finished off then Modi is finished too. But none of you are finishing it. I keep thinking you all will do something.” The attendees included Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi leader T Velmurugan and other popular Muslim organisations.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tirunelveli City confirmed that a first information report had been filed against Kannan. The complaint was registered by Bharatiya Janata Party District President (Tirunelveli) Daya Shankar on Monday. He was charged under sections 504 (intentional insult to instigate breach of peace), 505-1b (with intent to cause, fear or alarm to the public) and 505-2 (statements that promote enmity between classes) of the Indian Penal Code.
BJP’s state unit General Secretary KS Narendran reportedly filed a separate complaint, alleging that Kannan’s comments would spark communal violence. “His entire speech is nothing but one to incite hatred and enmity between the religious groups of Hindus and Muslims, and the speech is one which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony,” the complaint read, according to The Indian Express. “He abuses many castes in his speech and calls people belonging to a particular community as ‘dogs’.” A few other leaders and supporters of the saffron party also complained against Kannan, including state unit spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathi, who has also filed a complaint against Kannan.
Apart from Modi and Shah, Kannan allegedly made derogatory comments against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. At least 26 people have died in nationwide protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens.
Meanwhile, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader and MLA Thamimum Ansari said that such comments should not be made as it diverted attention from the protests against the amended Citizenship Act. “A party like BJP knows how to make a small issue into a bigger problem,” he said, adding that those in responsible positions should introspect before speaking.