Congress Lok Sabha candidate Imran Masood was on Saturday arrested on charges of hate speech in which he threatened to “chop” Narendra Modi “into pieces”, remarks that led to an FIR being filed against him by police besides sparking an outrage.
Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has called off Saharanpur rally following the arrest of Imran Masood.
Masood was arrested in the wee hours, police said. Congress had distanced itself from the remarks by Masood, who is contesting from Saharanpur, saying it abjures violence whether of language or otherwise while BJP had condemned it as inflammatory and dragged Congress President Sonia Gandhi into the controversy.
A video footage of the election rally in Saharanpur, showing Masood attacking the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, had gone viral on the web.
“If Modi tries to make Uttar Pradesh into Gujarat, then we will chop him into tiny pieces…I am not scared of getting killed or attacking someone. I will fight against Modi. He thinks UP is Gujarat. Only 4 per cent Muslims are there in Gujarat while there are 42 per cent Muslims in UP,” he had said.
However, he later apologised for his remarks, saying, “I should have been more cautious with my words” and that the same were said in the heat of electioneering.
UP Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Amrendra Sengar said an FIR has been registered against Masood at Deoband police station of Saharanpur.
Sengar told reporters in Lucknow that the Congress nominee has been booked under section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of the Representation Of The People Act, and various IPC sections.