The mainstream political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday criticised the Centre for the arrest of National Conference leader Hilal Lone, saying that the Bharatiya Janata Party had completely different standards when it came to hate speech from its own leaders.
Lone was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly delivering a hate speech at a rally during last year’s District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district. A local court on Tuesday remanded Lone to 10 days of judicial custody, reported The Hindu.
In his speech, Lone had hit back at the BJP for repeatedly referring to the Gupkar Alliance as the “Gupakar gang”, or a band of anti-nationals who worked against the interest of the country. “The real gang is the one that demolished the Babri Masjid and rioted in Delhi,” Lone had said.
Lone’s colleague and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly condemned the arrest. “The BJP has a completely different standard when it comes to hate speech from its own leaders,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter. “They can call for hands to be cut off, people to be murdered and it’s fine. Hilal Lone makes a speech and anti-terror laws are used to book him.”
Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti said there would not be enough room in the prisons of the country if the BJP’s ministers, lawmakers and members of its “IT Cell” were brought to book for inciting communal passions against minorities.