Human rights organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Monday filed a complaint with the Election Commission seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his claims that the Congress would distribute citizens’ property among “infiltrators” if voted to power.

Kavita Srivastava and Bhanwar Meghwanshi from the organisation also filed a complaint with the Jaipur Police urging it to register a first information report against the prime minister.

At an election rally in Rajasthan on Sunday, Modi claimed that the Congress’ manifesto talks about calculating “the amount of gold that mothers and sisters have, get information about it and then distribute that property”.

The Congress has dared Modi to show one paragraph in its manifesto where it talked about redistributing wealth to the Muslim community.

Modi said: “When the Congress-led government was in power, they had said that Muslims have the first right over the country’s assets. This means that they will distribute wealth to those who have more children and those who are infiltrators. Is this acceptable to you?”

The complaints have described the prime minister’s remarks as “hate speech” and said that it was in clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission for political parties and candidates to follow during poll campaigns. It sets guardrails for speeches, meetings, processions, election manifestos, polling and several other areas.

The code’s general conduct section bars “any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension” between groups. It also prohibits appeals “to caste or communal feelings for securing votes”.

“The speech clearly constitutes acts prejudicial to the maintenance of peace and harmony between different religious groups in Rajasthan and in the country as a whole,” the complaints read.

They also asserted that the prime minister’s speech was made “with an intention to cause and in any event is likely to cause, fear or alarm in one community against the other”.

“I would like to point out that given the Constitutional stature of Shri Narendra Modi as the current prime minister of India, the hate speech he delivered in Banswara will have a snowballing effect not only throughout the state of Rajasthan but across India, in fostering disharmony and hate towards the minority Muslim community,” the complaints read.

They added: “The speech in effect, is meant to provoke people from the majority community who bear a grudge against the minority community thereby inciting them or encouraging them to attack the minorities, even at a later stage, anywhere in Rajasthan as also the rest of the country.”

In view of this, the organisation urged the chief election officer in Jaipur to disqualify Modi under the Representation of the People Act. It also sought similar action against Bharatiya Janata Party candidates Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya, who will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Banswara, and Manna Lal Rawat, who is fighting from the Udaipur parliamentary constituency.

“I also urge you to initiate criminal action against them and also against the organisers of the Sabha, CP Joshi, the State BJP President, and other members of the BJP who were present or involved in the meeting and prosecute them in accordance with the law,” read the complaint.

Srivastava and Meghwanshi urged the Jaipur Police to register an FIR against the persons under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity), 153B (punishment for hate speech), 295A (outraging religious feelings), 505 (1) (statements conducing publish mischief) and 505 (2) (statements creating enmity).

Action has also been sought under section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, which deals with promoting enmity between groups in connection with elections.

Modi on Sunday was purportedly referring to remarks that Congress leader Manmohan Singh had made on December 9, 2006, when he addressed a meeting of the National Development Council. Singh, the prime minister at the time, had said that the country’s priorities were to uplift the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and women and children.

“We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development,” Singh had said. “They must have the first claim on resources.”

On Monday, over 17,400 persons signed a letter by the Samvidhan Bacchao Nagrik Abhiyan alleging that Modi had “blatantly violated this code [Model Code of Conduct]” and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, by making a speech “aiming at not only appealing to ‘communal feelings’ but also instigating and aggravating hatred in the Hindus against Muslims”.

The letter asked the poll panel to censure Modi, alleging that the prime minister’s speech “has the potential of tearing apart the social fabric of India” and impose a ban on his campaign “as has been done earlier for violations of this nature”.


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