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Tribal leader held for controversial remarks against BJP during protest

Mohla (Chhattisgarh): A 52-year-old tribal leader was arrested on Saturday for allegedly making controversial remarks against BJP in July during a protest in Mohla-Manpur-Ambagarh Chowki district of Chhattisgarh, police said.

He also faces charges of hurting religious sentiments and setting a religious flag on fire in 2020.

Sarju Ram Tekam was arrested from his residence in Kalwar village under the Madanwada police station limits, said Superintendent of Police Ratna Singh.

On July 30, Tekam had allegedly given a provocative speech which hurt social and religious sentiments during a protest held by the tribal community at Manpur bus stand against the stripping of two women in Manipur, she said.

In a video related to the protest, Tekam had purportedly asked people to “chop off” BJP leaders if they visit tribal-dominated areas seeking votes during the upcoming Assembly elections.

Tekam was booked under sections 295 A (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), and 506 B (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code for his speech, the police officer said.

He was also booked under sections 295 A, 435 and 34 of IPC for delivering hate speech and burning a religious flag in 2020, Singh said, adding that Tekam was arrested in connection with both cases.

He was also being interrogated in connection with the murder of a BJP worker last week in Aundhi area of the district.

BJP worker Birju Taram was shot dead by suspected Naxalites at his village Sarkheda on October 20 night. The BJP has termed the incident as a “targeted” killing.

(Published 28 October 2023, 16:53 IST)

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