Magsasay award winner Sandeep Pandey booked for objectionable comments against Savarkar in speech against CAA at AMU

FP Staff

An FIR was filed against Magsaysay Award winner and human rights activist Sandeep Pandey for allegedly making inappropriate comments against Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar during his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University.

On Tuesday, national vice president of Hindu Mahasabha Rajiv Kumar filed a complaint alleging that Pandey made the comments while addressing anti-citizenship law protestors at AMU on Sunday, police said.

The FIR was lodged at the Civil Lines police station under sections 153 A (provocation with intent to cause riots) and 505 (1)b (inciting public or community to commit an offence).

"Investigation is underway," police were quoted as saying by The Times of India.

In his address, Pandey had also said that the same people are "dividing Hindus and Muslims" who had done the same thing during the British Raj. He had claimed that "masked goons" hired by some right-wing organisations have disrupted peaceful protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia and AMU and they were the real culprits behind the violence in these varsities.

"The students are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in a disciplined manner, both in Jamia and in JNU. They can't be blamed for the violence," the report quoted him as saying.

According to the report, Kumar had demanded that Pandey be arrested immediately and threatened a nationwide agitation if the police failed to discharge their duty.

According to a report in the Scroll, Pandey was among the group of people stopped from travelling to Lucknow on 15 January by the Uttar Pradesh Police, who cited Section 144 of the CrPC. The police had, however, denied stopping the group.

Pandey, who co-founded the Asha for Education foundation, was awarded the Ramon Magsasay award for "Emergent Leadership" in 2002. He has been at the forefront of protests against the scrapping of Article 370, for which he has been put under house arrest four times since August, the Scroll report said. Pandey has also been participating in protests against the CAA and proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Meanwhile, noted historian Irfan Habib has accused Uttar Pradesh Police of using pressure tactics to crush the democratic rights of citizens to protest peacefully. He said police were behaving in a partisan manner and deliberately trying to suppress dissent.

With inputs from PTI

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