A police complaint has been filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for allegedly making derogatory and defamatory remarks against right wing ideologue Veer Savarkar during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
A non-cognisable offence has been registered against Mr. Gandhi under Section 500 (defamation) and 501 (printing or engraving matter knowing it to be defamatory) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the Thane police, after a complaint was filed by a member of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena, Vandana Dongre.
On November 17, Savarkar’s grandson Ranjit and Rahul Shewale, an MP in the Shinde faction, filed a first information report (FIR) at the Shivaji Park police station against the former Congress president for ‘insulting’ the freedom fighter.
Addressing a rally in Washim district earlier this week, Mr. Gandhi, while calling Savarkar a symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had said that he had written mercy petitions from Andaman’s Cellular Jail and later a book on himself using a different name to show how brave he was.
The Congress MP from Wayanad further alleged that Savarkar used to take pension from the British, work for them and work against the Congress. Addressing a press conference in Akola on Thursday, Mr. Gandhi said he stood by his remarks and claimed that Savarkar helped British authorities and wrote his mercy petition “out of fear.”
On March 6, 2014, Mr. Gandhi had made a speech in Bhiwandi, holding the organisation responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He had said, “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him… They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji.”
Soon thereafter, Rajesh Kunte, secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS, registered an FIR against Mr. Gandhi.
On December 6, 2018, Mr. Gandhi had appeared before a local court in Bhiwandi and pleaded “not guilty” for the charges under Section 499 (defamation) and Section 500 of the IPC, which can be a simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both.