The Pune police probing whether pro-Pakistan slogans were chanted during the protests held by activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) said that various video recordings of the rally available on the social media platform will be sent for forensic analysis.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 2) Sagar Patil, said, “A case was earlier registered at Bundgarden police station under charges of unlawful assembly and wrongful restraint. Multiple videos of the incident being circulated on social media are being investigated as part of the investigation. Based on the findings, additional legal provisions may be invoked. The videos are being aggregated and will be sent for forensic analysis.”
On Saturday morning, purported videos from the protest site — the Pune district collectorate — were circulated on social media with messages claiming that pro-Pakistan slogans were raised during the protest.
“The sloganeering of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ by some anti-social elements in Pune is highly condemnable… we want to make it clear that such slogans will not be tolerated,” Chief Minister Eknath Shinde tweeted.
Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “We will not spare anyone who raises the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in Maharashtra or anywhere in India. We will find those people and take action against them.”
When contacted, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “We are looking into the matter.”
Commenting on the allegations, PFI’s Pune unit president Mohammed Qais Anwar Shaikh said, “During the protest, our members and supporters chanted slogans of Popular Front of India Zindabad. A section of the media manipulated this and tried to present it as slogans of Pakistan Zindabad. We will initiate legal action against those defaming us or spreading rumours.”
Police detained 42 people on Friday, including leaders, members and supporters of PFI. They were released later in the night after being issued warning notices.
On Saturday morning, over 60 people were booked at Bundgarden police station under various sections of IPC holding a protest despite being denied permission to do so, officials said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), along with state agencies, had on Thursday launched nationwide raids against the PFI across several states in connection with their probe into terrorism and terror-funding charges. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), too, had launched a crackdown in the state and conducted raids at 12 places and arrested 20 persons linked to the PFI, including two from Pune.