Updated: September 2, 2020 7:08:27 am
The Indore police has arrested at least five people, including a BJP-turned-Congress leader, under provisions of the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for participating in a Muharram procession in the city. Another 23 people have been arrested after being booked under IPC Sections 188, 269, 270 and 151, police said.
All 28 have been sent to Indore Central Jail, they said.
The five held under NSA have been identified as Usman Patel (60) — who resigned from the BJP in February in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and joined the Congress — along with Ismail Patel (45), Ansar Patel (38), Mohammed Ali Patel (65) and Shahzad Patel (28). Senior police officers posted at Khajrana police station said action was taken on Monday after the five allegedly spread misinformation that the restrictions on public gatherings had been lifted, leading to a crowd of about 1,000 people participating in a Muharram procession on Sunday.
According to police, all those who participated in the procession from the city’s Imambada area to Karbala live in the same lane of the Khajrana area. The procession was held despite a meeting which was called by the district administration, in which members from different religious communities were asked to refrain from carrying out any public gathering.
The police action comes after videos of the procession were shared on social media. According to police, in the videos, the five held under NSA can be seen urging people to join the procession.
“They have spread miscommunication by stating that the restriction on public gathering has been lifted by the police. We have only booked those who can be seen spreading rumours in the video,” said Indore Deputy Inspector General of Police Harinarayana Chari Mishra.
Police said similar restrictions were imposed for Anant Chaturdashi and Ganesh Chaturthi, occasions on which a crowd of about three lakh people usually steps out.
“In the meeting [held by the district administration], all parties agreed to abide by the lockdown imposed in the wake of Covid-19. If people of any religion violate the agreed norms, it will create problems for law and order,” Mishra said.
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