Magsaysay Award winner and social activist Sandeep Pandey was on Tuesday booked for allegedly making inappropriate comments against Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar, reported PTI. He has been accused of inciting the public and provoking “with intent to cause riots”.
The activist reportedly made the comments while addressing anti-citizenship law protestors at Aligarh Muslim University on January 19, said the police. Vice President of Hindu Mahasabha Rajiv Kumar filed a first information report against Pandey at the Civil Lines police station in Aligarh. “An investigation is underway,” police officer Anil Samnania told ANI.
In his speech, Pandey had also said that the people who had divided dividing Hindus and Muslims during British rule in India are doing the same thing now. He claimed that “masked goons” hired by some right-wing organisations disrupted peaceful protests at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and AMU.
All these three universities have witnessed violence recently. A mob allegedly comprising Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members armed with sticks and hammers is believed to have carried out the attack on January 5. Thirty-four people were injured. The outfit is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing. Several eye-witness accounts and videos indicated that in most places, police personnel present at JNU did almost nothing to stop the violence, and, in fact, allowed the attackers to exit the university without apprehending them.
Violence broke out after a protest march by students of Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15 ended in a pitched battle with the Delhi Police. The police were accused of using excessive force and even assaulting students. Police also entered the Aligarh Muslim University campus the same evening after a clash broke out between them and students. They baton-charged students and used tear gas shells on them.
Earlier, Pandey was placed under house arrest during one of the protests. He has been critical of the “vengeance” with which the Uttar Pradesh government has acted against people protestors. He had said that more “maturity and restraint” was expected of any government.
The Uttar Pradesh police have been accused of using excessive force to deal with the demonstrators. There were reports that the police in Bijnor had detained at least five minors, and tortured them for 48 hours. At least 26 people died in last month’s protests against the law. Of these, 19 died in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 and notified on January 10, 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.