The Kolkata Police on Sunday arrested three workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s legal cell for shouting a Hindi slogan that calls for the “bloody traitors” to be shot, News18 reported. The workers were on their way to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in the city on Sunday afternoon.
In the past few weeks, the slogan – “desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko” – has become a rallying cry for hardline Hindutva supporters as a response to those opposed to the Citizenship Amendment Act.
A first information report was registered against Surendra Kumar Tiwari, Dhruba Basu and Pankaj Prasad at the New Market Police Station in Kolkata late on Sunday night. The police made the arrests after checking the CCTV footage of the rally. “Yes, three persons were arrested and today they will be produced before a city court,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Muralidhar Sharma said on Monday.
But West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh claimed that the ruling Trinamool Congress only knows how to harass workers of his party. “I would like to ask why they didn’t take legal action when people raised ‘Azadi’ slogans in Kolkata,” he said. “Those who destroy our government property should not be treated with tea.”
Another state BJP leader, Shamik Bhattacharya, said the party does not support such slogans.
During the rally, the BJP workers had a confrontation with workers from the Left and Congress, who chanted “Go Back Amit Shah”. However, the police intervened and managed to prevent the situation from escalating.
The BJP, including Amit Shah himself, has distanced itself from the slogan, but during the Delhi Assembly election campaign, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur egged on BJP supporters at a rally to chant it. Controversial BJP leader Kapil Mishra shouted the slogan at a pro-Citizenship Amendment Act rally in Delhi last month.