New Delhi: A day after minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur was heard urging people at a rally to raise incendiary chants like ‘shoot the traitors’, a Maharashtra-based activist has sent a letter to Delhi Police seeking permission to hold a “peaceful protest” with the same slogans.
On Monday, Thakur chanted ‘desh ke gaddaron ko’ at an election rally in Delhi, to which the response from the audience was ‘goli maaro saalon ko’. This loosely translated into an exhortation to shoot all “traitors”. Thakur had in his speech lambasted all protestors against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), linking the month-long sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh to opposition parties.
Later speaking to the Indian Express, Thakur said that he wasn’t raising the slogan, but the audience. “I just wanted people to say what is to be done with traitors of the country. It could have evoked a response like ‘vote them out’ or ‘throw them out’. But it was the people who reacted so,” he said.
The Delhi chief electoral officer (CEO) has sought a report from the returning officer of Rithala constituency, where the rally was held by the BJP as part of the campaign for the February 8 assembly elections in the national capital.
Last month, Delhi MLA and BJP member Kapil Mishra had led a pro-CAA rally, during which the same slogan calling for the shooting of all traitors was raised.
Activist and journalist Saket Gokhale posted on his Twitter account a copy of the letter sent to the deputy commissioner of police for New Delhi district.
In the letter, he said that the protestors “specifically seek permission to raise the slogan, ‘desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko’ as part of this peaceful demand for justice”.
Sent a letter to @DelhiPolice asking permission for a peaceful protest chanting the slogan “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko” against communal forces on Sunday 2nd Feb.
Your call, Delhi Police – grant it or refuse it.
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) January 28, 2020
Gokhale added that the protestors did not have any connection with political parties and would not violate the Election Commission model code of conduct.
The peaceful protest, he informed, would be held at Jantar Mantar by around 100 people on February 2 (Sunday).
On his Twitter post, Gokhale added, “Your call, Delhi Police – grant it or refuse it”.
Earlier announcing his intention to apply for permission, Gokhale had tweeted that Delhi Police would now be caught in a dilemma. “If they grant me permission, they’re going to have to do a lot of answering in court for allowing this slogan. If they refuse, they need to arrest Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP candidate Kapil Sharma for raising this slogan at their rallies,” he wrote on Monday. He erroneously referred to Kapil Mishra as Kapil Sharma.