JAIPUR: The coronavirus pandemic may be the worst crisis the world has faced since World War II but many in India are fueling communal fears even in this moment of grave tragedy. In Rajasthan, two BJP MLAs have been booked for making provocative speeches to spread hatred in their attempt to attack the Gehlot Government's action plan on tackling the Corona crisis.
A case has been registered against the Sanganer MLA Ashok Lahoti of Jaipur at the Mansarovar police station while Ramganjmandi MLA Madan Dilawar has been booked at Mahavir Nagar police station in Kota for spreading hate through their viral videos.
Ramchandra Devanda, a resident of Muhana Mandi Road, has alleged that MLA Ashok Lahoti has spread disharmony in the community through his narrow-minded speeches aimed at promoting religious ill-will.
He added that in the time of national disaster, the administration has been accused of discrimination by Lahoti who has claimed that people of a particular community are being given a food plate worth Rs 720 per person. "Lahoti has given provocative speeches and warned of Rajasthan becoming New York. He wants to create communal violence in the state on the basis of religion, caste, community and create a wave of unrest,"said Ramchandra
But Lahoti says that he has just stated the truth of the matter with regard to hoarding and distribution of ration. "To intimidate and pressurise us, cases are being registered. But we are neither afraid nor will we succumb to these tactics", said Ashok Lahoti, the MLA from Sanganer. The police have sent the file to CID CB for investigating the case which has been registered under IPC Sections 188, 153A, 153B, 505, 505 Second, and Section 51 and 54 of the Disaster Management Act.
Another BJP leader to be booked is Madan Dilawar who is the MLA from Ramganjmandi constituency in Kota. "His case was registered on Friday under relevant sections of the IPC, the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act", said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amrita Duhan . A resident of Teachers Colony in the city, Sanjay Sharma who is also a Congress worker has lodged the complaint against Dilawar for his provocative message in a widely-circulated video. Moreover, Dilawar allegedly also issued a press note on April 15 along with the video message and accused the Congress government in the state of favoring a particular community during the Corona crisis for vote bank politics. The MLA is also accused of inviting people to his residence and disregarding social distancing norms.
The FIR states that Dilawar made a video on April 9th wherein he talks against a specific community and how it has spread Corona deliberately. The report also says that amidst the curfew and section 144 continuing, such speeches can spread communal disturbance between two communities.
For the FIRs registered against its two MLAs, the BJP has attacked the Congress strongly on the issue. " The Gehlot government wants to suppress the voice of the opposition. But BJP leaders and workers will not be intimidated . The government, which failed to follow the lockdown in the infected areas, is taking revenge action on the public representatives and activists of the opposition who raise their voice ", remarked Satish Poonia, BJP State President.
However, Pratap Singh Khachariawas, the Congress President in Jaipur and Transport Minister in the Gehlot government responded sharply to the criticism and said, " BJP MLAs have been sued by some private citizens and not the government. It is shameful that BJP leaders want to spoil the atmosphere by playing dirty politics even in the Corona crisis."