Indian Police Arrest 25 for Displaying Anti-Modi Posters

In this Nov. 13, 2019, file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the BRICS Business Council prior to the 11th edition of the BRICS Summit, in Brasilia, Brazil. From industrialists and foreign companies to celebrities and ordinary citizens, people from all walks of life pitched in for a newly …
AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

Police in India’s national capital territory, Delhi, arrested 25 people as of Sunday for placing posters with a message critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the walls of public buildings across a dozen separate locations in the capital.

“Modi, why did you send vaccines meant for our children to foreign countries?” the posters read.

“Delhi Police registered 25 cases in the matter under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code, read with sections of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Press and Registration of Books Act,” the Print, an Indian online newspaper, reported May 16.

“The police had arrested 25 people in connection with the case, most of whom are auto-rickshaw drivers, shop owners, daily wage labourers, and unemployed people. All the accused were able to secure bail,” according to the Print.

“Four arrested from Delhi’s Kalyanpuri area were all daily wagers. They said they were given money to put up the posters,” India Today reported.

The posters were placed on the walls of public buildings located across a dozen localities in Delhi, including “Khajuri, Kalyanpuri, Dayalpur, Bhajanpura, Mangolpuri, Old Delhi, Khyala, Moti Nagar, Kirti Nagar, Nihal Vihar, Rohini, and MS Park,” according to India Today.

Durgesh Pathak, the leader of a left-wing opposition party in India called the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), confirmed to the Print on May 16 that AAP members paid locals to paste the anti-Modi posters on public building walls across Delhi in recent days.

“We have got these posters out across Delhi and I want to ask Modi’s Delhi Police that how can you arrest people for putting up some posters in a democracy like ours?” Pathak said.

“If you still wish to arrest people, then please arrest me and not innocent poor people. The whole country is in fact asking why were vaccines meant for our kids sent to other countries — to Pakistan — and not saved for our own kids,” he added.

“AAP member and President of [Delhi] Ward 47, Arvind Gautam, was the one who got posters put up in Mangolpuri. He is absconding. Even in Dabri, Khanpur, Kirti Nagar, it was done on directions of AAP volunteers,” a senior Delhi police officer allegedly told the Print on Sunday.

“AAP members engaged people in the middle of a pandemic, and gave them money to put up posters. They were given money, between Rs 200 [$2.73]-Rs 500 [$6.82] to paste these across the capital. These are clear violations and more arrests will be made in this regard,” the officer, who did not wish to be named, told the Print.

Opponents of Prime Minister Modi, who heads India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have criticized his handling of India’s Chinese coronavirus vaccine rollout in recent weeks. Modi boasted that New Delhi had exported large shipments of Indian-made Chinese coronavirus vaccines to foreign countries in mid-April despite reports at the time that Indian citizens were being turned away for vaccine appointments due to a nationwide shortage of the very same vaccines. India’s coronavirus caseload has surged over the past month, all but drying up the country’s Chinese coronavirus vaccine supply. State-run Chinese coronavirus vaccine clinics across Mumbai shut down entirely for days in late April due to insufficient vaccine stocks.


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