Inflammatory, anti-Muslim slogans were allegedly raised at Jantar Mantar on Sunday during a march “against Colonial-era laws” in the country — an event the Delhi Police said organisers had no permission for, though until late Sunday evening, no action had been taken.
The rally, called by Supreme Court lawyer and former Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay, had hundreds of people in attendance. Purported videos of the event showed people shouting slogans threatening harm to Muslims.
Upadhyay, who had called for the march under the ‘Bharat Jodo Movement’, could not be reached for comment. He had filed a PIL in the SC last month against the Indian Penal Code, seeking a judicial panel or a body of experts to draft a ‘comprehensive’ and ‘stringent’ penal code for ensuring rule of law and equality.
“There was a protest against colonial laws used to suppress Indians by the British, which still exist. We were there to protest against those laws and for a Uniform Civil Code because our demand was that there should be one rule in one country,” said Shipra Srivastava, media in-charge of Bharat Jodo Movement.
“There was no such (inflammatory) slogan in my knowledge… there were 5,000 people and if five-six people in some corner would be shouting such slogans, then we disassociate ourselves from them,” she claimed.
A senior police officer from the New Delhi district said, “We refused permission after informing them about DDMA guidelines (which do not allow for gatherings in view of the Covid protocol), and later we got to know that Ashwini Upadhyay was looking for an indoor venue. Police arrangements were in place and we thought around 50 people would come, but suddenly many people in small groups started gathering. They were protesting peacefully, but started raising slogans when they were dispersing.”
Asked about the purported videos, DCP (New Delhi district) Deepak Yadav said, “We are verifying all the video clips.” He refused to comment on how such a large number of people managed to gather at Jantar Mantar.
A senior police officer from the Intelligence Wing said Delhi Police’s Special Branch had informed the New Delhi district about the event and that people were likely to turn up in large numbers.
Last month, police had granted permission to 200 farmers to protest at Jantar Mantar following long discussions and meetings. Special permission had to be taken from the Delhi L-G, who is also the DDMA chairperson, for that protest.
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