Coming down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government for “soft pedalling” in acting against BJP leader Amit Shah and SP leader and minister Azam Khan for their “highly inflammatory speeches” during the poll campaign, the Election Commission Friday ordered that permission should not be given for public meetings, processions, rallies and roadshows where these two leaders were expected or were likely to participate.
Upset over the lack of action by the state government, the EC also directed it to file necessary FIRs and initiate criminal proceedings against both Shah and Khan. It asked the UP government to take all preventive measures against the two under relevant laws “to ensure that no act of commission or omission is resorted to by them which has the effect of prejudicially affecting the public tranquility and law and order”.
The EC has sought a compliance report by 5 pm on April 12.
The commission said it is in the process of issuing another show cause notice to Khan over several “inflammatory” remarks he made during a public meeting in Kila Rampur Thursday.
Holding that the statements and public utterances by both these politicians were “being made with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings and religious beliefs of different classes of citizens of India”, the EC said they were not only violating provisions of the model code of conduct but were also serious crimes under provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the Indian Penal Code.
Observing that state authorities “have not acted with the required alacrity and even FIRs have not been filed, wherever called for,” against Shah and Khan, the EC, in a strongly-worded communication to the UP chief secretary, pointed out that “particularly, no FIR seems to have been filed against Shri Azam Khan so far” and that the “state government machinery is soft pedalling in taking required action against him”.
The EC further said that both these politicians have been making highly inflammatory speeches during the course of the current election campaign and these statements were “promoting feelings of enmity, hatred and iil-will and creating disharmony between different religious communities on the ground of religion”.
“Further, these provocative statements being made by them are highly prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious communities and also likely to disturb peace and public tranquility.”
Having issued notices to Shah and Khan to explain their position on the complaints against their speeches, the EC Friday said it was still awaiting their replies. The commission observed that despite issuing a notice to Khan on April 9, he was still violating the model code of conduct and other laws and was “making derogatory and inflammatory statements” using “intemperate language”.