Updated: May 16, 2021 6:35:30 pm
Senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and P Chidambaram, Sunday hit out at the Centre over the arrests of people who had allegedly put up posters criticising the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
Arrest me too.
मुझे भी गिरफ़्तार करो। pic.twitter.com/eZWp2NYysZ
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 16, 2021
“Arrest me too,” Rahul tweeted on Monday while sharing the poster which read: “Modi ji hamare bachchon ki vaccine videsh kyon bhej diya (Why did you send our children’s vaccines abroad?)”.
Congress leaders have also changed their display pictures on the social media platform to voice their opposition to the arrests.
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 16, 2021
A senior Delhi Police official had told The Indian Express that around 25 FIRs have been registered so far regarding the matter.
Besides Rahul, several others have criticised the arrests, with Abhishek Manu Singhvi saying it indicates a “lawless state gone amuck”. “I am shocked and stunned. May vehemently disagree but under what authority, what law, what power can you arrest those who put up posters, eg auto driver, printer, daily wager etc. This, like UP arrest of person who complained on losing his father, smacks of a lawless state gone amuck!” he wrote on Twitter.
Celebrate, India is a free country. There is freedom of speech
Except, when you ask a question of the Honourable Prime Minister
That is why the Delhi Police arrested 24 persons for allegedly pasting a poster in Delhi
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 16, 2021
Senior Congressman P Chidambaram, too, took to the microblogging site to write, “The poster asked a simple question of the PM: why did you export the vaccines meant for our children? Even before the PM could answer, the loyal Delhi Police answered with arrest.” He added, “There is freedom of speech. Except, when you ask a question of the Honourable Prime Minister.”
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, however, went one step ahead of the others, saying he would put up the posters on the compound wall of his residence and asked the Delhi police and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to arrest him.
The Trinamool Congress and CPM, too, expressed their protest over the arrests.
12 Arrested Over Posters Against PM Modi In Delhi
“Modi ji, aapne humare bacchon ki vaccine videsh kyu bhej diya?”
Perfectly valid question. pic.twitter.com/XCJS5Bsg3G
“Busy with election rallies and building the Central Vista, Modi Govt didn’t have time to plan for vaccines, but has time to arrest the poor asking,” the CPIM tweeted, repeating the line: “Why did you send our children’s vaccines abroad?”
The Indian Express had visited the homes of two of those arrested and tracked police stations across the capital to find that many of those who were picked up were either daily wage workers who put up posters and banners for a living, or jobless youths — and had no idea about the content or politics involved.
At Mandawali in East Delhi, one of the districts from where four were arrested, Rahul Tyagi (24), said he was given 20 banners by staff at AAP councillor Dhirender Kumar’s office on May 11, and promised Rs 600 for putting them up in Kalyanpuri. “My parents are disappointed and won’t let me work anymore. I only do this for sustenance,” Tyagi had said.
Investigating officers said those who were picked were primarily involved in printing or putting up the posters for a paltry sum, while a probe is still on to track who commissioned them.
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