EC bans Amit Shah, Azam Khan from holding public rallies after hate speech

Lucknow, Apr. 12: Election Commission (EC) of India banned Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan and general secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Amit Shah from addressing any public rallies after they made “highly inflammatory speeches” during election campaigns.

This action was taken to prevent the two leaders from disrupting poll atmosphere and hurting religious sentiments.

“The Commission has directed to the state that Amit Shah and Azam Khan have been making highly inflammatory speeches during the course of the current election campaign for general elections in Uttar Pradesh. These statements are inter alia promoting feeling of enmity, hatred and ill will and creating disharmony between different religious communities on the ground of religion,” said Chief Election Officer of Uttar Pradesh, Umesh Sinha, while addressing media persons in Lucknow.

Country’s independent election body also ordered the authorities to register First Information Reports (FIR) against the two politicians and initiate criminal proceedings.

“Necessary FIRs should be immediately filed and criminal proceedings initiated against the above mentioned two leaders, wherever the same have not been instituted so far. Second, no permission should be granted for holding any public meeting, public processions, public rallies, road shows etc by the district administration authorities where the above two leaders are expected or likely to participate,” Sinha added.

The Commission had already issued notice to Amit Shah, also a close aide of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, for his ‘revenge’ remark for riot-hit district of Muzaffarnagar and had asked it to explain his speech by April 09.

Earlier, police had filed a case against Shah for allegedly saying that the parliament polls were elections for honour and to take revenge for the insult heaped on them. The BJP leader also added that it was an election to teach a lesson to those who did injustice.

Azam Khan too stirred a controversy earlier this week when he said that Muslim soldiers solely won Kargil war and not Hindu soldiers.

His remark was seen as an attempt to polarise the voters a day before Uttar Pradesh was getting ready for elections.

Commenting on the notice issued to him, Khan said he exercised his freedom to speech.

“I mentioned the sacrifices, the atrocities committed and said nothing which was not factual or real and also did not threaten someone,” said Khan.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Rajendra Chaudhary called the Commission’s decision as unfortunate and said a comparison cannot be made between the two leaders.

“The decision taken by the Election Commission on Azam Khan is very unfortunate and astonishing too. How can Azam Khan and Amit Shah be compared? Election Commission also knows that Azam Khan is a secular leader and Amit Shah fires poison of communalism and the result is still being borne by people of Gujarat,” said Chaudhary. (ANI)