Activist Sandeep Pandey booked for ‘derogatory remarks’ on Savarkar

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Magsaysay award winner and social activist Sandeep Pandey was booked on Wednesday. (File)

AN FIR was registered against Magsaysay Award winner and human rights activist Sandeep Pandey for allegedly making “derogatory remarks” against RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar during a speech at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Sunday.

Civil Lines circle officer (CO) Anil Samania said Pandey was booked under sections 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 505 1B (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the state or against public tranquility) of the IPC. The move comes after a complaint by Hindu Mahasabha leader Rajiv Kumar. Police said the FIR was registered Monday and a probe was on.

Pandey claimed to The Indian Express Wednesday, “All I said during my speech that Savarkar took pension from the British government and wrote a mercy petition, so how can we call him a freedom fighter... I also said the kind of oppression this government is doing is similar to what the British used to do. The government is using the methods of the English because people from this government never participated in the freedom struggle. Except Savarkar, none of them went to jail, and even Savarkar came out asking for mercy and kept taking pension from the British.” Pandey added that he was addressing a student protest and candle march at AMU organised by the student coordination committee.

On Wednesday, Pandey was present at Lucknow’s Ghantaghar to express solidarity with protesters at the ongoing sit-in.