RAIPUR: Reacting to alleged defamatory remarks about Mahatma Gandhi made by a Hindu seer at a Dharam Sansad in Raipur, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said communal overtones with a vested interest will not succeed in vitiating social harmony in the state.
“An FIR has been lodged and appropriate legal action will follow,” the CM said after Raipur Police registered a case against Sant Kalicharan for his statement in which he had also lauded Nathuram Godse and justified Gandhi’s murder.
The Maharashtra-based preacher made these remarks from the stage on the concluding day of the two-day Dharam Sansad held in the state capital. The FIR was registered late on Sunday night, following a complaint by Congress leader Pramod Dubey that Kalicharan had insulted the Father of the Nation with slanderous remarks.
While Baghel chided the BJP for not coming out openly against the objectionable remarks, Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik countered, “The seers arrive from across the nation. They offer their views as per their understanding. Mahatma Gandhi is Father of the Nation and will remain so for us.” Over two dozen religious leaders from across Chhattisgarh and other states had gathered at the Dharam Sansad where Hindus were exhorted to get ready for ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
Though the police have registered the case under IPC Section 294 (outrageous or obscene words or acts in any public place to the annoyance of others) and Section 505 (2) (statements seen conducive to public mischief), the Congress demanded that Kalicharan be charged with sedition as his comments had insulted not just Gandhi, but the entire country and the world.
Meanwhile, the organiser of the Dharam Sansad called the remarks against Gandhi “inappropriate”. “The views should be seen as personal,” said Neelkanth Tripathi of the Dharam Sansad Organising Committee in Raipur.
A food department officer was suspended on Monday for allegedly making derogatory comments against Mahatma Gandhi on social media in Chhattisgarh's Raipur district, a government official said.
The development comes a day after Hindu religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj used abusive language against the Father of the Nation at an event here for which an FIR was registered against him.
Sanjay Dubey, posted as Assistant Food Officer here, was suspended after it was reported that he had made "insulting and derogatory" remarks against Mahatma Gandhi on a social media platform (Facebook), his suspension order said.
The officer denied the charge and said he has immense respect for the independence movement icon.
His act amounts to violation of the Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965, and therefore he has been placed under suspension with immediate effect, the order added.
During the suspension period, he will be posted at the office of his department in Kabirdham district headquarters, it added.
A screenshot of comments purportedly made by Dubey and circulated on social media read, "Neither Gandhi was a nation, nor a majority of people of this country consider him as father of the nation. Even the father of nation is not a constitutional post. The person who used to say that India could be partitioned only over his dead body, had himself divided the country in two parts. The person was responsible for killings of lakhs of countrymen."
The remarks were in reply to a comment on the social networking site.
However, Dubey claimed his Facebook account was hacked and he did not write the controversial remarks.
"My phone was hacked by someone who made such derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi ji. I have immense faith in Gandhi ji. He was the foremost person in nation-building. He is an honourable person for me," the officer added.
The Chhattisgarh Police on Sunday registered an FIR against Kalicharan Maharaj on the charge of promoting enmity between classes after he used derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi and hailed his assassin Nathuram Godse.
During the conclusion of the two-day 'dharma sansad' (religious parliament) at Ravan Bhata ground in Raipur on Sunday evening, Kalicharan Maharaj had used "abusive" words against the Father of the Nation and asked people to elect a staunch Hindu leader as the head of the government in order to protect the religion.
His statements drew flak from leaders of the ruling Congress in the state.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday slammed the seer for his remarks and said strict action will be taken in the matter.
(With PTI Inputs)