The Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) on Wednesday arrested two persons for allegedly putting up hoardings in Vadodara city against French President Emmanuel Macron between October 31 and November 5.
The two accused, identified as Shabbir Hussain Shaikh (29), a resident of Tandalja, and Asif Salim Shaikh (34), a resident of Nawabwada in Raopura, were booked for “inciting hatred” against communities.
The DCB on Wednesday said, “The accused printed banners carrying messages of hatred and inciting the Muslim community, which had been protesting with the belief that some statements made by the Head of state of France were against their religious beliefs. The accused did not name the printing press or the commissioning person for such banners, and put them up with a criminal intention of fanning communal discord.”
The DCB has booked the two accused under Section 269 and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 505 (intent to incite any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code as well as sections of Press Registration Act.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCB, Jaydeepsinh Jadeja told this newspaper, “The CCTV footage shows that the two men broke the prohibitory and precautionary measures in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic and did not wear masks or hand gloves while putting up the posters. They also intended to incite the Muslim community against the French President. So they have been booked accordingly and arrested.”
Asif Shaikh has several cases against him from the past, including murder, attempt to murder, possession of arms and jumping parole.
Protests had broken out in Vadodara on October 30 against French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments after the alleged beheading of a school teacher earlier this month over showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad from a satire magazine Charlie Hebdo.
In Vadodara, residents of minority-dominated areas of Nawabwada, Macchipeeth and Navayard, pasted posters of Macron to the road to allow people and vehicles to crush the posters in a symbolic protest. Banners calling for boycott of France and French products also came up in the minority areas in Vadodara.
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