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New Delhi: Raising slogans hailing Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, radical Hindutva leaders leading a march against holding of namaz in public places in Gurugram on Friday called for the release of Kalicharan Maharaj, who was arrested by Chhattisgarh Police on December 30 for making derogatory remarks against the Father of the Nation.
The protest march, taken out by a collection of 22 groups as part of a weekly protest against offering of namaz, saw at least 50 people raising slogans in favour of Godse. The protesters raised slogan like “Nathuram Godse amar rahein (long live Godse)” and “Godse saved the nation”. They also threatened to take the law into their own hands if their demand was not met.
Human rights activist and co-founder of Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch Altaf Ahmad tweeted a video of the protest march.
Often I don't agree with @asadowaisi but that doesn't mean that instead of reporting to Police, vigilantism takes over.
— Altaf Ahmad (@JoinAltaf) December 31, 2021
The march began near the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) residence at Civil Lines and proceeded to the DC’s office. During the protest, the Hindutva leaders also submitted a memorandum addressed to the President of India at the DC’s office seeking “immediate release” of Kalicharan.
The memorandum read: “We, residents of Gurgaon, oppose the arrest of Sant Kalicharan. The probe has been one-sided in this case. While Owaisi has been using abusive remarks against Hindus and the police, no action has been taken against him. Through this memorandum, we appeal to the President to immediately dismiss the case against him (Kalicharan).”
The march was led by legal adviser of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, and several members of Gau Rakshak Dal from Manesar, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena also participated in it.
Also in attendance were a number of Hindutva leaders who have in the recent past led protests against other religious communities over various issues. One such leader who attended the march was Narender Singh Pahari, a former RSS and BJP leader. It was a group led by Pahari which had last week alleged religious conversion while disrupting a Christmas eve event at a school in Pataudi.
During the march, Pahari defended the freedom of speech of Hindutva activists, saying “when someone talks of a Hindu nation and Hindu interests, there is an FIR immediately, and arrest [takes place], while others go scot free.”
Likewise, Mahavir Bhardwaj, the state president of the Haryana unit of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh, who had attended the ‘Dharam Sansad’ in Haridwar where several hate speeches were delivered, including by Kalicharan, also participated in the protest.
Incidentally, Bhardwaj, who is a former president of the Gurgaon district bar association, had also stood up for a 19-year-old youth who had in 2019 opened fired at anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia.
Talking about their demand for seeking Kalicharan’s release, Bhardwaj was quoted by the Indian Express as saying: “We vigorously support the remarks made by Sant Kalicharan against Gandhi and condemn how the Chhattisgarh government has arrested him. When the country was partitioned on the basis of religion, why did Gandhi not oppose it? This country will never forgive Gandhi for his role in accepting the division of the country. The Hindu society has woken up and we will not accept any insult to our saints.”
“This insult (arrest of Kalicharan) is a way to challenge Hindu society. He (Kalicharan) did not say anything that should be punishable as per law. Due to pressure created by some traitors, he has been arrested. Hindu society should not be provoked into a situation where it becomes a question of law and order,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Hindutva protesters also urged action against AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and declared a Rs 22 lakh award to “any police officer in the country who would arrest him”.
One of them, Parveen Yadav, who has been at the forefront of objecting to the conduct of namaz in Gurugram, said: “The authorities have not taken any action against Owaisi, who has been threatening and inciting Hindus in his speeches.”