Jharkhand Bharatiya Janata Party President Deepak Prakash on Sunday dared the state government to arrest him, a day after he was booked for sedition and other charges. Prakash has been criticising the state government for rallying behind tribal activist and Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, who is an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
The action against Prakash came after he said that the incumbent Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal government would be toppled in two months and the state will get a chief minister from the saffron party. The Rajya Sabha MP had also warned government officials not to favour the ruling alliance’s candidates in upcoming Dumka and Bermo bye-polls, reported the Hindustan Times. The bye-elections will be held on November 3.
Dumka Congress district president Shyamal Kumar Singh filed a complaint accusing Prakash of trying to destabilise the elected government and intimidating government officials. The Dumka Police registered a first information report and booked Prakash under Sections 124 A (sedition), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimation) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Sunday alleged that the BJP does not believe in democracy. “Like in other states, they are trying to define politics in a new way in which role of horse trading is vital,” he told reporters in Dumka. “It becomes apparently clear by Prakash’s statement. What is running in his mind? If they have planned to topple the government, then this FIR against him would prove a strong tool to disclose their [BJP’s] nefarious design.”
Prakash, on the other hand, defended his remarks. “I challenge the government to arrest me as I am still sticking to my stand,” he told reporters at the BJP’s headquarters on Sunday. “The incumbent government is bound to go due to internal dissensions. I will keep questioning the chief minister on public issues, no matter what may come. It’s my right.”
He also criticised Soren for clearing Swamy, who was arrested on October 8 by the National Investigation Agency from Ranchi. Chief Minister Soren had attacked the Centre a day after Swamy’s arrest, asking why was it insisted on crushing every voice of dissent.
The National Investigation Agency has alleged that Swamy is a member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and was involved in a conspiracy to instigate caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. Prakash read out a part of the NIA’s chargesheet. “They planned for procurement of M-4 rifles and four lakh bullets,” he said citing the document. “It’s a 5000-page chargesheet. But, our CM didn’t care to read it and wait for the judicial decision and jumped on to give a clean chit to Swamy.”
Prakash added that he does not fear going to jail, reported The Telegraph. “If being a BJP worker who chants Bharat Mata ki Jai amounts to sedition so be it,” he added.