Stop Communal, Divisive and Hate Politics

Video: Varun Gandhi promulgates Hindutva fascism on BBC Apr 2007
http://in.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=100450&videoChannel=101
Varun gets EC notice for anti-Muslim speech: IBNLive.com CNN-IBN VIDEO
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/87851/watch-varun-gandhis-speech-that-sparked-controversy.html
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88023/i-spoke-for-hindus-says-defiant-varun-gandhi.html
Last Petition Update: Wed, March 25, 2009 @ 10:20 hrs IST
Gandhi relative's hate video shocks India Guardian UK
EC slaps notice on Varun for anti-Muslim speech: IBNLive.com CNN-IBN Video
HATE MONGER: Varun Gandhi denied the charge claiming the CD of the speech has been tampered with. - CNN-IBN
HATE MONGER: Varun Gandhi denied the charge claiming the CD of the speech has been tampered with.
HATE POLITICS: If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand, says Varun. -CNN-IBN
HATE POLITICS: If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand, says Varun.
SPEECH TROUBLE: Young BJP leader Varun Gandhi accused of making anti-Muslim remarks. - CNN-IBN
SPEECH TROUBLE: Young BJP leader Varun Gandhi accused of making anti-Muslim remarks.
FULL STEAM: Workers install BJP party banner for election campaign in Bhubneswar. - CNN-IBN
FULL STEAM: Workers install BJP party nbanner for election campaign in Bhubneswar.
Varun Gandhi, the grandson of India's late prime minister Indira Gandhi, is facing criminal charges after making anti-Muslim comments Photo: AFP
Varun Gandhi, the grandson of India's late prime minister Indira Gandhi, is facing criminal charges after making anti-Muslim comments Photo: AFP
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videoshow/4276374.cms
Varun Gandhi's speech marks a new low in Indian politics: IBNLive
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/87851/varun-gandhis-speech-marks-a-new-low-in-indian-politics.html WATCH CNN-IBN VIDEO
Varun Gandhi plays communal card - and even BJP taken aback Economic Times
Varun Gandhi targets Muslims, BJP shocked Tue, Mar 17, 2009  CNN
Varun Gandhi's hate-Muslim speech makes his BJP squirm
Varun Guilty, News - Nation - Mumbai Mirror 23 Mar 2009
Poll panel seeks report on Varun Gandhi's remarks - Gulf Times
Shobaa De: Political babes in woods Sunday Times of India March 22

The strident communal overtones of the campaign being run by 'the other' Gandhi son, Varun, contesting his maiden Lok Sabha election from this constituency, has left even workers of his own Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shocked.

The 29-year-old son of Menaka and the late Sanjay Gandhi - younger son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi - was Sunday issued a notice by the district authorities in Pilibhit, the constituency so carefully nurtured by his mother who gave up the seat to ensure his easy entry into the Lok Sabha.

That she did so was no surprise for political watchers here. What has come as a shocker is his staunchly pro-Hindu and rabid anti-Muslim vitriolic that his opponents and supporters say could trigger a communal clash.

From taking up issues like asking a Sikh leader to leave a Hindu meeting, Varun Gandhi has been ruffling feathers everywhere.

Varun, the son of late Sanjay Gandhi and Menaka, apparently forgot all sense of decency when he openly abused Muslims and threatened to behead them.

At a rally in Pilibhit, Varun declared his war from the stage and roared against Muslims. Using an abusive term for the community, he openly said that he would cut such heads after the elections.

Raising his hands, he repeatedly said that this not the Congress' symbol of hand but  it is the power of the lotus (BJP symbol) and is the BJP's arm that will behead these K&t*%* or Kutton (extremely derogatory word 'dogs" which is a highly offensive slang to describe the community). It was both sad and shocking.

[Yeh itne ghinaune shabd hain ki ham aapko sunaa bhi nahiN sakte: The anchor had to say that some words and remarks were so disgusting that they couldn't be aired. Though the channel inserted a sound at that particular word, still it could be understood]

Amid chants of Jai Shri Ram, the young face of BJP and the scion of Nehru-Gandhi delivered not just a speech of extreme vitriol but threatened to kill and cut heads and hands
. He didn't even spare the Congress either.

Varun is the BJP candidate from Pilibhit. His mother Menaka has repeatedly won from the same constituency and Muslims who constitute a large number of electorate have voted for her even when she was independent. But this is not the issue. The issue is how irresponsible a politician or any public personality can be and is it tolerable?

Watching the speech [and the comments] anybody would be horrified as to what must have got into his head. And this is the young man, who was praised as a poet and a man of vision! A relatively new channel India News got the video of Varun's speech and it telecast the entire speech live.

In his speech Varun lays himself bare, comes out of his sophisticated cocoon and tries to fan religious passions by such hatespeak which is unbelievable to hear in any civilised society. He repeatedly claimed that he would perform the act after the elections.

They/Muslims are dangerous, have scary names

Varun has delivered a number of speeches in various meetings. In one meeting he says that the Muslims have names that appear scary. They also look dangerous. If one comes across them at night, he may get frightened.

"All the Hindus stay on this side and send the others to Pakistan. This is the Lotus hand, it will cut their throats after elections. They have names such as Karimullah, Mazurullah. If you see them in the night you would get scared," he had said in his rally on Tuesday.

"They have scary names - Karimullah, Nazarullah - its scary to see them at night. I have a cousin - my aunt's daughter - she saw a pamphlet which had photos of all candidates. When my cousin who is seven-eight years old, saw Samajwadi Party's candidate's photo, she said Bhaiya (big brother), I didn't know that Osama Bin Laden is fighting from your constituency," Varun said in his speech.

He's allegedly compared a Muslim politician to Osama Bin Laden. His comments were seen as a warning to Muslims in the area.

Even BJP leaders in Pilibhit shocked

Several Hindu sammelans have been organised where Varun has almost 'gone out of hand', say BJP leaders.

Though just one offensive remark captured by a TV channel drew the attention of the local authorities, the scion of the estranged Gandhi family has been busy making such statements all over Pilibhit
.

While "Jai Shri Ram" is his battle-cry at all roadside meetings or assemblies, some of the other slogans being used are "Varun Gandhi ko jitana hai" (Varun Gandhi must win) and "Varun nahin yeh aandhi hai, doosra Sanjay Gandhi hai (Varun Gandhi is like a storm, he is another Sanjay Gandhi)".

Varun Gandhi has already addressed three 'Hindu sammellans'. While the district administration has taken cognisance of his utterances at a meet in Barkhera on March 8, those at earlier meetings in Dalchand on March 6 and at Lalori Khera locality on Feb 22 have almost gone unnoticed.

On March 6, he said at the Dalchand meeting: "Agar kissi galat tatv ke aadmi ne, kisi Hindu pe haath uthaya ya hinduon ke upar yeh samajh key ki yeh kamzor hain, unke peeche koi nahi hai - hinduon ke upar haath uthaya, mein geeta ki kasam khake kehta hoon ki mein uss haath ko kaat daaloonga. (If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus, or thinks they are weak, there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the (Bhagvad) Gita that I will cut off that hand)."

Varun also said that anybody who dares to raise his hand on a Hindu, Varun Gandhi will chop his hand off.

It has left even leaders who are working for his victory flabbergasted.

Naresh Verma, a popular BJP leader in Puranpur - within the constituency - told IANS: "I am a BJP activist and a Hindu too. But I am not in favour of launching a communally charged campaign. If Varun Gandhi persists with such style of campaigning, I would be compelled to keep myself away from it."

Added another BJP veteran Gurdial Singh: "Varun is going out of hand. If he is not restrained, this election could end in a bloody communal clash."

The 70-year-old Sikh from Ramnagar village was even asked to leave one of the Hindu meets being addressed by Varun Gandhi.

"He neither has respect for any other religion nor even for elders. In his arrogance, he has gone to the extent of forgetting that his mother was also a Sikh before her marriage."

If the BJP is alarmed, other parties are determined to ensure that this stops.

"We have audio-recordings of the provocative language used by Varun Gandhi to run down Muslims," claimed Haroon Ahmad, a local Samajwadi Party leader.

"We have been restraining our people from retaliating because that will lead to a clash, but how long can we stop people from reacting?" he asked.

Varun Gandhi's Congress rival V.M. Singh said he was "going to make a detailed complaint in this regard to the Election Commission".

Asked why he had not done so far, Singh told IANS: "I have been gathering all the evidence against him so far but now I am going to make a written complaint."

"The highly objectionable slang used by Varun in his reference to Muslims could just spark off a violent communal clash here."

Varun Guilty, News - Nation - Mumbai Mirror 23 Mar 2009

ANOTHER COMPLAINT

Varun on Sunday faced yet another charge of making a hate-speech in Pilibhit. V M Singh, his Congress rival, alleged in his complaint to the EC that Varun made another inflammatory speech at Avas Vikas/Desh Nagar on March 6, where he is heard 'making fun of the Sikh community' and Muslims as well.

Singh has submitted a CD with 28 minutes of recorded speech where Varun allegedly said, 'Lekin ek to paagal Sardar lad raha hai, jiske har samay baara baje hue hai...aur woh ek Musalmaan ka agent ban ke lad raha hai, joh Hindu usko lada rahe hai...woh Hinduo ke sabse bade gaddar hai...'

The text roughly means, "There is a mad Sikh contesting...who is contesting as an agent of a Muslim...the Hindus who are backing him are the biggest traitors of Hindus
."

Singh alleged that Varun had claimed in the CD that he does not want a single Muslim vote and asks the Hindus to come together. Varun was also heard saying that 'Hindu armies' would be formed and given arms licences, procured both 'formally and informally.

Sources said Singh has claimed that the clips were made from mobile phones and were authentic.

The CD, submitted by the Congress candidate to the EC on Saturday, allegedly shows Varun Gandhi ridiculing a candidate, "Ek to Riaz lad raha hai...Riaz Ahmed toh khula Pakistani hai (One Riaz is contesting...this Riaz Ahmed is openly Pakistani)".

"These people will have to be caught and vasectomy performed on them," Varun had allegedly said in the CD.

The 29-year old candidate from BJP also tells the crowd that those Hindus who don't vote will be committing treachery against his religion.

Gandhi relative's hate video shocks India Guardian UK Thu March 19
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/19/india-politics-gandhi-racism 

Varun Gandhi, the lesser-known grandson of Indira Gandhi, was pitched into the centre of a national row yesterday after an election campaign video showed him apparently delivering a venomous attack on Muslims.

The video, played repeatedly on Indian news television channels and on websites, shows him denigrating Muslims while addressing an election meeting in his parliamentary constituency in northern Uttar Pradesh, the home state of the charismatic Nehru-Gandhi family.

The election commission, which is overseeing the April-May vote, ruled yesterday that all future rallies held by Varun Gandhi should be monitored and recorded on video, and ordered his party leadership to explain his actions.

Though Gandhi doesn't deny giving the controversial speech, he insisted the video had been "doctored" and that what he said was "mangled".

"I believe very firmly that this is the result of a political conspiracy," he said. "This is not my voice, those are not my words. I've a soft voice, [but in the video] I sound like [Bollywood star] Amitabh Bachchan."

The state election authorities have ordered an investigation, and the local police have registered a criminal case and sent the video for forensic tests. Gandhi is a candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), whose leaders often stridently promote Hindu causes.

"The video contains outrageous statements," said Aditi Phadnis, a political analyst. "It's dreadful. If Varun said all that then obviously what propelled him was the desire to polarise voters along communal lines. He wants to consolidate the Hindu vote behind him." A Congress leader demanded that Gandhi be arrested and prosecuted.

Gandhi, 29, is seeking to make his debut entry into parliament from Pilibhit, a constituency long nurtured by his mother, Maneka Gandhi.

In Pilibhit the number of Muslim voters, traditionally hostile to the BJP, has shot up to 420,000, increasing the pressure on Varun Gandhi to mobilise his base. In the video he is seen telling the audience: "Go to your villages and give the call that all Hindus must unite to save this area from becoming Pakistan."

He is even heard mocking a rival candidate, a bearded Muslim, calling him Osama bin Laden, and then saying: "America couldn't get Osama, but Varun Gandhi will catch many after the elections."

"This is not the 'hand' [a reference to the Congress election symbol], this is the hand of the 'lotus' [the BJP symbol]," Gandhi is seen as saying, with his palm raised toward the crowd.

"After the election [this hand] will cut the throat of the circumcised [a derogatory colloquial Hindi reference to Muslims]. Hail Lord Ram!"


All four Nehru-Gandhi family members active in politics are contesting the forthcoming polls from Uttar Pradesh, but from opposite sides of the political divide.

Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, projected as a future prime minister, are contesting as leaders of the Congress party which is currently in power, while a family feud made Varun and his mother join the opposition BJP.

Until now, despite the family squabble, all the Nehru-Gandhis have had a reputation for being secular and untainted by communal politics. The venomous statements in the campaign trail video have therefore shocked the nation.

If the video is genuine, analysts say, it shows the extent to which some politicians would go to divide voters and win an election. "People who know Varun say he's a very intelligent young man," said Phadnis. "But sometimes people who are too sharp can end up cutting themselves."

Varun Gandhi's hate-Muslim speech makes his BJP squirm Mar 17, 2009
His remarks are condemnable, unethical, immoral, unacceptable and illegal / against law.  Varun is associated with a party (BJP) which has this (anti-minority) ideology and culture.

Shiv Sena asks BJP to back Varun Gandhi The Hindu Thu Mar 19
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/19/stories/2009031960901000.htm 

MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena has come out strongly in support of the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency, Varun Gandhi, whose alleged communal remarks have raised a controversy.

Waxing eloquence on Varun, the editorial observes that the young man is a forceful reminder of his father. It is like Sanjay Gandhi is reborn and speaking through his son.

Like father, like son. Like Sanjay, like Varun.

Varun Gandhi targets Muslims, BJP shocked Tue, Mar 17, 2009

EC files criminal case against Varun Gandhi Indian Exp Tue, Mar 17

EC issues notice to Varun Gandhi for communal remarks Times of India March 17

EC files criminal case against Varun Gandhi CNN-IBN March 17

EC files criminal case against Varun Gandhi Indian Exp Mar 17, 2009

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videoshow/4275132.cms

On a complaint from the Congress party, Varun was slapped with a notice by the Election Commission charging him with violation of the model code of conduct for elections by his alleged making communal remarks or anti-Muslim speeches during a rally held on March 6 in Pilibhit.

Acting prompt and tough, the Election Commission on Tuesday ordered filing of a criminal case against BJP candidate Varun Gandhi for his alleged inflammatory speech with communal overtones and served notice to the party seeking its explanation.

The three-member Commission which met on Tuesday and discussed the speeches of Varun, a member of the Gandhi-Nehru family, in Pilibhit in which he had made inflammatory comments against the members of a minority community. The comments drew sharp criticism from within his party and allies and outside.

In a slew of decisions, the EC directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer to file a case against Indian Penal Code and Representation of the People Act against Gandhi and issued a notice to him for violation of Model Code of Conduct.

The police quickly filed a case against him. Shortly later, the Station Officer of Barkhera filed a case against Gandhi under provisions of IPC and RPA relating to speeches intended to cause enmity among people on religious grounds.

The provisions speak of punishment of imprisonment up to three years.

Under the law, a person convicted of an offence with imprisonment of not less than two years, could be barred from contesting elections.

BJP was also slapped with a notice over Gandhi's remarks. It ordered issue of notice to BJP and Gandhi for alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct.

The EC also ordered transfer of District officials and suspended two others for alleged dereliction of duty.

"Notices have been issued to BJP candidate from Pilibhit and state unit president for their alleged communal remarks. They have been asked to submit their replies," election officials in Lucknow said here.

The Commission sought an explanation from Gandhi, who is making his electoral debut from Pilibhit, for alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct.

"Making communal or casteist remarks amounts to violation of the model code of conduct," officials said.

AGONY AUNT: Ambika Shukla pulls away BJP leader Varun Gandhi from his interview to CNN-IBN.

AGONY AUNT: Ambika Shukla pulls away BJP leader Varun Gandhi from his interview to CNN-IBN.
I spoke for Hindus, says defiant Varun Gandhi CNN-IBN Wed, Mar 18, 2009 http://ibnlive.in.com/news/i-spoke-for-hindus-says-defiant-varun-gandhi/88023-37.html

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88023/i-spoke-for-hindus-says-defiant-varun-gandhi.html 

New Delhi:
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi on Wednesday denied speaking against Muslims and claimed he was being called communal because he spoke for Hindus.

"Statements that have been put in my mouth are not true," Varun told CNN-IBN in Delhi on Wednesday after announcing at a press conference that he would not apologise for a speech he made in Pilibhit, the constituency in Uttar Pradesh where he is fighting elections.


"I never made any communal statements. I went to an area in which I felt Hindus were being targeted, so I spoke in favour of the Hindu community. It is a very sad day in the Indian politics when anyone who speaks for Hindus is branded communal," Varun told Pallavi Ghosh, CNN-IBN's Chief Political Correspondent.

"All statements that have been put in my mouth are not true. There is no question of me making communal statements and they have been put it into my mouth," he said.

"I stand for India and my legacy has always been to stand for everybody and not to just stand against anybody."

Varun, who has been booked in a criminal case for his statements, alleged the CD showing him making the speech was doctored. "Where was this CD for 15 days? Who was doctoring it? That is not my voice."

The BJP leader refused to comment whether he suspected a conspiracy but said it was clear 'who stands to gain' from the controversy.

Varun denied that his speech had embarrassed the BJP. "If I have not said what I have been accused of saying, then obviously I have not embarrassed anybody, including myself."

"The party (BJP) has an ideology of protecting Hindus. I have tried to protect the weaker sections of Hindus, who have been targeted by anti-nationals, by people from across the border because it is a border constituency (Pilibhit)."

Asked if the controversy had become intense because of his surname, he said: "Yes, but I would like to say that I stand for the truth but what I have not said I must firmly say that I have not said it."

Midway through the interview, Varun's aunt Ambika Shukla pulled him away. CNN-IBN has learnt that the BJP had asked Varun not to hold the press conference.

Varun's rallies to be video-tracked The Hindu Thu, Mar 19, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/19/stories/2009031958260100.htm

He and party to reply to notice by 11 a.m. Friday, Mar 20, 2009

NEW DELHI: BJP leader Varun Gandhi, who has attracted widespread condemnation for his alleged "inflammatory" communal speeches in his Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, will hereafter come under the watchful eyes of the Election Commission. It has ordered video-tracking of all his visits, rallies and functions.

The full Commission - Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S.Y. Quraishi - on Wednesday directed Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer A.K. Bishnoi to depute a video cameraperson to accompany a magistrate and to provide them adequate security to do the job.

In notices sent to Mr. Gandhi and the national and Uttar Pradesh State presidents of the BJP, in Delhi and Lucknow respectively, the Commission sought an explanation from them by 11 a.m. on Friday for disregarding and violating the provisions of the model code of conduct, failing which it will take further action. It also enclosed copies of the CD that allegedly contains a speech of Varun.

The Commission told the grandson of Indira Gandhi: "Based on the report of the CEO, you [Varun] have violated the model code of conduct by inciting communal feeling through your speeches."

What the code says

It pointed to the relevant provisions in the code that said: "No party or candidate shall indulge in any activity, which may aggravate the existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic;" and " there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as a forum for election propaganda."

The Commission said it received a report from the Pilibhit District Election Officer through the CEO, which said, "BJP member Varun Gandhi has violated the code by inciting communal feelings through his speeches made at public gatherings at Mohalla Dalchand, Kotwali Pilibhit and Kasba Barkheda on March 7 and 8."

The Commission on Tuesday ordered registration of a criminal case against Mr. Gandhi under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for his "communal speeches." It also ordered suspension/transfer of some district officials.

EC orders video tracking of all Varun rallies CNN-IBN Wed, Mar 18, 2009
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/ec-orders-video-tracking-of-all-varun-gandhi-rallies/88028-37.html 

UNDER SCANNER: BJP leader Varun Gandhi speaks to media outside his residence.
UNDER SCANNER: BJP leader Varun Gandhi speaks to media outside his residence.
New Delhi: Holding that his anti-Muslim speeches amount to violation of the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission on Wednesday slapped notices on Varun Gandhi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking their response by Friday, even as it ordered video tracking of his entire campaign.

"The Commission is of the opinion that the above action on your part amounts to violation of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct," the EC said in its notice, referring to the speeches made by Gandhi in Mohalla Dalchand, Kotwali Pilibhit and Kasba Barkheda in Uttar Pradesh on March 7 and 8.

"Therefore, you are called upon to explain by 1100 hrs IST on March 20 as to why action should not be taken against you," the EC said, a day after filing a criminal case against Varun for his inflammatory utterances.

In its notice to BJP President Rajnath Singh, the EC said that it was of the opinion that the action of Gandhi as a member of BJP amounted to violation of Model Code of Conduct and asked it to reply by Friday as to why the party disregarded and violated the provisions of the Code.

The Commission said it has received a report of the District Election Officer, Pilibhit, on Tuesday stating that "you (Varun Gandhi) have violated the Model Code of Conduct by inciting communal feeling through your speeches".

A copy of the CD was sent to both Varun and the party.

Meanwhile, the Commission ordered video tracking of all visits, rallies and functions of Varun Gandhi.

In its communication to the Chief Electoral Officer of UP, the Commission directed him to depute a video cameraperson with a Magistrate all the time with security.

The Commission cited the provisions of the Model Code which said no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between difference castes and communities, religious or linguistic.

Under another provision, there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.

Plilbhit Muslims angry, bewildered at 'kid' Varun
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/plilbhit-muslims-angry-bewildered-at-kid-varun/88153-37.html
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88153/plilbhit-muslims-angry-bewildered-at-kid-varun.html
WAR ON VARUN: Pilibhit remains a town divided and a little embarrassed.
WAR ON VARUN: Pilibhit remains a town divided and a little embarrassed.
Muslims in Pilibhit are eager to know the latest on Varun Gandhi. While there is silent anger brimming in the community, there is also a strong sense of disbelief that the great grandson of Nehru could stoop so low for a few extra votes.

"He used to come to our place with his mother when he was a kid and now suddenly we are strangers to him," says a resident Mohammed Rehaan.

A historical town on the Nepal border, Pilibhit has a long history of communal tension. But it is also a town renowned for its culture where Hindus and Muslims pray together at Sufi shrines and dargahs.

Clearly Varun Gandhi's rally hit the religious fault-lines in the city. After all it's been 20 years that Maneka Gandhi will not be contesting from Pilibhit.

Unlike her son, the Gandhi bahu never tried to play the religious angle, instead making news mostly on issues concerning the environment.

But the BJP in Pilibhit is eager to cash in on the new blood.

"He's fresh blood. He will do what he says," says BJP district chief, Yogendra Singh Gangwar.

While there are some who believe that once Varun wins the elections, he will shed his naivete, there are others who say that Varun's comments have already done the damage in Pilibhit.

Even as Varun Gandhi's fate hangs, Pilibhit remains a town divided and a little embarrassed.

Varun Gandhi moves Allahabad HC challenging FIR Thu, Mar 19, 2009
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/varun-gandhi-moves-allahabad-hc-challenging-fir/88144-37.html
ROYAL MESS: Varun moved the HC with a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed on March 17.
ROYAL MESS: Varun moved the HC with a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed on March 17.
Embattled BJP leader Varun Gandhi, against whom a criminal case was filed over his alleged anti-Muslim speeches, on Thursday knocked the doors of two separate high courts seeking to quash charges against him and prevent his possible arrest even as he appeared headed for more trouble for allegedly distributing money in Pilibhit.

Adding to the heat on Varun who had dismissed the CD of his alleged inflammatory speech, the Election Commission (EC) said it has seen the video footage and it was up to him to prove that the tape was tampered with.

Varun moved the Allahabad High Court with a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed on March 17 at Barkheda Police Station in Piliphit under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of Indian Penal Code and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.

Varun alleged in his petition that the FIR, which was lodged nine days after he had made the speeches, was "a part of a political conspiracy to spoil" his political career and "tarnish" his "secular image".

He has also alleged the video footage of a public meeting, on the basis of which the EC has taken action against him, "has been tampered with" and did not contain his voice.

Varun also approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail with his counsel telling a Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah that there was apprehension of his arrest since the provision for anticipatory bail was not available in Uttar Pradesh.

Appearing before Delhi High Court, the counsel of the 29-year-old politician, seeking to make his electoral debut, pleaded that the police be restrained from taking any action against him on the basis of the FIR lodged in Uttar Pradesh.

The counsel submitted Varun is a law abiding citizens and would co-operate in the investigation.

A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidharan agreed to list the matter for Friday.

However, Varun could find himself in more trouble as the EC sought a report on his alleged distribution of money on March 4 in Pilibhit where the district administration said an inquiry had found the allegation to be true.

"The Commission today got some inputs regarding alleged distribution of money by the BJP candidate and it has sought a report from the district magistrate in this regard," Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi told reporters in Lucknow.

Pilibhit sub-divisional magistrate M A Akhtar said an inquiry conducted by the district administration had found that Varun distributed money to some people in Bisalpur village on March 4.

He said two separate FIRs were lodged against Varun for allegedly making inflammatory remarks and inciting communal feelings during rallies held on March 2 and March 8 and EC also has "some inputs regarding a similar meeting held on February 22, on which a separate report has been sought from the district magistrate".

Proving CD tampered with is Varun's job: CEC Fri, Mar 20, 2009
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/proving-cd-tampered-with-is-varuns-job-cec/88173-37.html
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88173/proving-cd-tampered-with-is-varuns-job-cec.html
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE: The Election Commissioner has ordered DM's to record speeches from now on.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE: The Election Commissioner has ordered DM's to record speeches from now on.
Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami has made it clear that the onus of proving that the video CD - containing the inflammatory hate speech by BJP's Varun Gandhi - was tampered with, rests with Varun himself.

"We have seen the videos. It is for Varun to prove that it has been tampered with. The question of disqualification arises only when nomination starts," N Gopalaswami said.

Varun has applied for anticipatory bail in the criminal case slapped on him. Two more cases have also been filed against him in Pilibhit for distributing money.

The BJP has already said that his remarks don't have the party's approval. At the time the comments were made, Varun had not been given the official BJP symbol.

However, the young Gandhi has himself remained defiant saying the CD has been doctored with. He has time till 11:00 hrs on Friday morning to reply to the Election Commission's (EC) notice.

The EC, meanwhile, has ordered extensive video coverage of campaigns in Bengal. District Magistrates have been asked to keep pictures and the video footage in their custody.

Varun, the 29-year-old son of five-time Pilibhit MP Maneka Gandhi, has created a storm by adopting a fanatical pro-Hindu stance in his speeches.

An unfazed Varun Gandhi asserted on Wednesday that he was a "Gandhi, a Hindu and an Indian" and insisted that the CD showing him making inflammatory speeches was doctored.

The poll panel served notices to Varun Gandhi, BJP President Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh BJP Chief Ramapati Ram Tripathi to explain why they "disregarded and violated the provisions of the model code of conduct".

Asked about the action taken by the commission against Varun Gandhi and the BJP, Gopalaswami said: "Regarding Varun we have already taken action against him. As far as BJP is concerned, we will decide when they reply to our notice."

HELPLESS LAW: Unless proven that hate-speech in the CD is the truth, EC cannot bar Varun on suspicion alone. Sun, Mar 22, 2009
HELPLESS LAW: Unless proven that hate-speech in the CD is the truth, EC cannot bar Varun on suspicion alone.
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/v-is-for-varun-gandhi-venom-of-hate-speech/88337-37-single.html 

Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundations of a secular and inclusive India. His great-grandson, Varun Gandhi, is accused of making a violent speech against Muslims.

Varun, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, seems like a religious fanatic from the speech. "If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus, or thinks they are weak, there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the (Bhagvad) Gita that I will cut off that hand," he allegedly said.

And that was just one of several vitriolic statements he allegedly made. The Election Commission has served a notice on Varun and asked him to prove his claim that the CD showing him speaking against Muslims has been doctored.

The outrage at Varun's speech was sharper because of his famous surname but he is not the first politician who has tried to improve his career by spreading hate and threatening communities.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his estranged nephew Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray made their careers by giving controversial speeches or writing fiery edits.

Hindu leaders Ashok Singhal, Uma Bharati and Sadhvi Ritambara have been booked for controversial speeches but were never found guilty. Haji Yakoob Qureshi, once a minister in Uttar Pradesh, offered a reward on the head of the Danish cartoonist artist who had sketched the Prophet.

Should Varun Gandhi and leaders who spread hatred be barred from contesting elections? Is the law unable to bar such leaders? CNN-IBN%u2019s Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai asked a panel of legal experts, politicians and social commentators.

The politicians on the show were former BJP MP and general secretary of the Jana Sangh Prafull Goradia and Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

Senior lawyer and former attorney general Soli Sorabjee and Rahul Narvekar, legal advisor to the Shiv Sena commented on the legal aspects of the controversy.

Sadia Dehlvi, columnist and activist, and Suhel Seth, columnist and managing partner of Counselage, were the other guests on the show.

"There is no ambiguity about it: he (Varun Gandhi) must be barred from contesting polls. Anybody who tries to polarise society has no right to be in public life," said Tewari, who denied that the Congress was soft on the BJP leader because he was a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

The point is not Manmohan Singh, the Congress or the BJP--the point is Varun Gandhi, said Suhel Seth. "We need demonstrable punishment for people who vitiate the polling process whether on religion, caste, creed or by giving money.


"The moment you talk about Muslims and Hindus you will raise one antennae or the other. Move away, talk about development and have demonstrable punishment both for the political party as well as the political representative," said Seth.


Free speech and law


Punishing Varun Gandhi by barring him from elections will be legally impossible right now. That can be done only when a court finds him guilty. Is that a flaw in our system?

Varun has a right to speak but the law bars him from spreading hate, said Tewari. "Article 19 of the Constitution clearly says free speech but with reasonable restrictions. Any party or individual who try to vitiate the atmosphere has no right to be in the political mainstream," he said.

Spill hate, spin votes?

Varun is just the latest in a long list of politicians who have found that hateful and controversial speeches and campaigning ensures attention and votes. The Congress won a landslide victory in Parliament in 1984 after a campaign which allegedly targeted Sikhs.

Narendra Modi in Gujarat and Bal Thackeray in Maharashtra have run similar campaigns too. Is hate mongering the hidden agenda in all election campaigns? Do politicians think they can get away with hate speeches?

People are out of sync if they think they can get away, said Dehlvi. "People realise that we cannot build anything on hate. People are concerned about security. We are in an economic crisis and people are just worried about living a peaceful life. The BJP's Mandir idea worked 10-15 years ago--now it is a failed idea," said Dehlvi.

Hate, like pornography, sells but it cannot become a replacement or relevant, said Seth. "If he (Varun) had something nice and calm we wouldn't been having this discussion. Pornography sells but no one would replace education textbooks with pornography.

"Narendra Modi has moved from hate to development because hate is not an enduring benefit," said Seth.


The Congress didn't run a hate campaign in 1984, said Tewari. "In 1984 if the Congress got 415 seats it was primarily because it was a national tribute to Mrs Indira Gandhi as well as a vote for change. If it had been a hate or negative campaign we would have picked up some seats in Punjab. We lost all 13 seats in Punjab," he said.

Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray is the only famous politician to have been found guilty of a hate speech. That was years ago and Thackeray's sentence was commuted. Is it all history for the Shiv Sena now?

Varun Gandhi has the right to free speech but not to spread hate and slander communities. How can the country stop politicians from using hate as a political tool?


Sorabjee suggested two solutions: zero-tolerance for hate speeches and amendment to laws. "There can be an injunction against a person for spreading communal hatred and causing disharmony, because ordinary people suffer from this vituperative venom which is being spread," he said.

Hate and intolerance can't be the basis of India. "The only thing we have to hold sacred as a collective society is the Indian constitution," Dehlvi.


Ditto, said Sorabjee. "Enforce the provisions of the Constitution and think first I am an Indian. Even if there is appeasement, is to be met by dividing a community. This (hate) gets into the bloodstream of the people and the damage it can do cannot be cured by invalidating an election or sending Varun Gandhi to jail."

We appeal to the political parties to desist from making instigatory / inflammatory / provocative communal, divisive and hate speeches for their divide and rule policy/policies.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This petition's been addressed to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, Election Commission of India or ECI, Ministry of Home Affairs or MHA, District Election Officers or DEOs, District Magistrates or DMs and City Magistrates of Commissioners' of Police or CPs.

Video: Varun Gandhi promulgates Hindutva fascism on BBC Apr 2007
http://in.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=100450&videoChannel=101
Varun gets EC notice for anti-Muslim speech: IBNLive.com CNN-IBN VIDEO
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/87851/watch-varun-gandhis-speech-that-sparked-controversy.html
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88023/i-spoke-for-hindus-says-defiant-varun-gandhi.html
Last Petition Update: Wed, March 25, 2009 @ 10:20 hrs IST
Gandhi relative's hate video shocks India Guardian UK
EC slaps notice on Varun for anti-Muslim speech: IBNLive.com CNN-IBN Video
HATE MONGER: Varun Gandhi denied the charge claiming the CD of the speech has been tampered with. - CNN-IBN
HATE MONGER: Varun Gandhi denied the charge claiming the CD of the speech has been tampered with.
HATE POLITICS: If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand, says Varun. -CNN-IBN
HATE POLITICS: If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand, says Varun.
SPEECH TROUBLE: Young BJP leader Varun Gandhi accused of making anti-Muslim remarks. - CNN-IBN
SPEECH TROUBLE: Young BJP leader Varun Gandhi accused of making anti-Muslim remarks.
FULL STEAM: Workers install BJP party banner for election campaign in Bhubneswar. - CNN-IBN
FULL STEAM: Workers install BJP party nbanner for election campaign in Bhubneswar.
Varun Gandhi, the grandson of India's late prime minister Indira Gandhi, is facing criminal charges after making anti-Muslim comments Photo: AFP
Varun Gandhi, the grandson of India's late prime minister Indira Gandhi, is facing criminal charges after making anti-Muslim comments Photo: AFP
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videoshow/4276374.cms
Varun Gandhi's speech marks a new low in Indian politics: IBNLive
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/87851/varun-gandhis-speech-marks-a-new-low-in-indian-politics.html WATCH CNN-IBN VIDEO
Varun Gandhi plays communal card - and even BJP taken aback Economic Times
Varun Gandhi targets Muslims, BJP shocked Tue, Mar 17, 2009  CNN
Varun Gandhi's hate-Muslim speech makes his BJP squirm
Varun Guilty, News - Nation - Mumbai Mirror 23 Mar 2009
Poll panel seeks report on Varun Gandhi's remarks - Gulf Times
Shobaa De: Political babes in woods Sunday Times of India March 22

The strident communal overtones of the campaign being run by 'the other' Gandhi son, Varun, contesting his maiden Lok Sabha election from this constituency, has left even workers of his own Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shocked.

The 29-year-old son of Menaka and the late Sanjay Gandhi - younger son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi - was Sunday issued a notice by the district authorities in Pilibhit, the constituency so carefully nurtured by his mother who gave up the seat to ensure his easy entry into the Lok Sabha.

That she did so was no surprise for political watchers here. What has come as a shocker is his staunchly pro-Hindu and rabid anti-Muslim vitriolic that his opponents and supporters say could trigger a communal clash.

From taking up issues like asking a Sikh leader to leave a Hindu meeting, Varun Gandhi has been ruffling feathers everywhere.

Varun, the son of late Sanjay Gandhi and Menaka, apparently forgot all sense of decency when he openly abused Muslims and threatened to behead them.

At a rally in Pilibhit, Varun declared his war from the stage and roared against Muslims. Using an abusive term for the community, he openly said that he would cut such heads after the elections.

Raising his hands, he repeatedly said that this not the Congress' symbol of hand but  it is the power of the lotus (BJP symbol) and is the BJP's arm that will behead these K&t*%* or Kutton (extremely derogatory word 'dogs" which is a highly offensive slang to describe the community). It was both sad and shocking.

[Yeh itne ghinaune shabd hain ki ham aapko sunaa bhi nahiN sakte: The anchor had to say that some words and remarks were so disgusting that they couldn't be aired. Though the channel inserted a sound at that particular word, still it could be understood]

Amid chants of Jai Shri Ram, the young face of BJP and the scion of Nehru-Gandhi delivered not just a speech of extreme vitriol but threatened to kill and cut heads and hands
. He didn't even spare the Congress either.

Varun is the BJP candidate from Pilibhit. His mother Menaka has repeatedly won from the same constituency and Muslims who constitute a large number of electorate have voted for her even when she was independent. But this is not the issue. The issue is how irresponsible a politician or any public personality can be and is it tolerable?

Watching the speech [and the comments] anybody would be horrified as to what must have got into his head. And this is the young man, who was praised as a poet and a man of vision! A relatively new channel India News got the video of Varun's speech and it telecast the entire speech live.

In his speech Varun lays himself bare, comes out of his sophisticated cocoon and tries to fan religious passions by such hatespeak which is unbelievable to hear in any civilised society. He repeatedly claimed that he would perform the act after the elections.

They/Muslims are dangerous, have scary names

Varun has delivered a number of speeches in various meetings. In one meeting he says that the Muslims have names that appear scary. They also look dangerous. If one comes across them at night, he may get frightened.

"All the Hindus stay on this side and send the others to Pakistan. This is the Lotus hand, it will cut their throats after elections. They have names such as Karimullah, Mazurullah. If you see them in the night you would get scared," he had said in his rally on Tuesday.

"They have scary names - Karimullah, Nazarullah - its scary to see them at night. I have a cousin - my aunt's daughter - she saw a pamphlet which had photos of all candidates. When my cousin who is seven-eight years old, saw Samajwadi Party's candidate's photo, she said Bhaiya (big brother), I didn't know that Osama Bin Laden is fighting from your constituency," Varun said in his speech.

He's allegedly compared a Muslim politician to Osama Bin Laden. His comments were seen as a warning to Muslims in the area.

Even BJP leaders in Pilibhit shocked

Several Hindu sammelans have been organised where Varun has almost 'gone out of hand', say BJP leaders.

Though just one offensive remark captured by a TV channel drew the attention of the local authorities, the scion of the estranged Gandhi family has been busy making such statements all over Pilibhit
.

While "Jai Shri Ram" is his battle-cry at all roadside meetings or assemblies, some of the other slogans being used are "Varun Gandhi ko jitana hai" (Varun Gandhi must win) and "Varun nahin yeh aandhi hai, doosra Sanjay Gandhi hai (Varun Gandhi is like a storm, he is another Sanjay Gandhi)".

Varun Gandhi has already addressed three 'Hindu sammellans'. While the district administration has taken cognisance of his utterances at a meet in Barkhera on March 8, those at earlier meetings in Dalchand on March 6 and at Lalori Khera locality on Feb 22 have almost gone unnoticed.

On March 6, he said at the Dalchand meeting: "Agar kissi galat tatv ke aadmi ne, kisi Hindu pe haath uthaya ya hinduon ke upar yeh samajh key ki yeh kamzor hain, unke peeche koi nahi hai - hinduon ke upar haath uthaya, mein geeta ki kasam khake kehta hoon ki mein uss haath ko kaat daaloonga. (If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus, or thinks they are weak, there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the (Bhagvad) Gita that I will cut off that hand)."

Varun also said that anybody who dares to raise his hand on a Hindu, Varun Gandhi will chop his hand off.

It has left even leaders who are working for his victory flabbergasted.

Naresh Verma, a popular BJP leader in Puranpur - within the constituency - told IANS: "I am a BJP activist and a Hindu too. But I am not in favour of launching a communally charged campaign. If Varun Gandhi persists with such style of campaigning, I would be compelled to keep myself away from it."

Added another BJP veteran Gurdial Singh: "Varun is going out of hand. If he is not restrained, this election could end in a bloody communal clash."

The 70-year-old Sikh from Ramnagar village was even asked to leave one of the Hindu meets being addressed by Varun Gandhi.

"He neither has respect for any other religion nor even for elders. In his arrogance, he has gone to the extent of forgetting that his mother was also a Sikh before her marriage."

If the BJP is alarmed, other parties are determined to ensure that this stops.

"We have audio-recordings of the provocative language used by Varun Gandhi to run down Muslims," claimed Haroon Ahmad, a local Samajwadi Party leader.

"We have been restraining our people from retaliating because that will lead to a clash, but how long can we stop people from reacting?" he asked.

Varun Gandhi's Congress rival V.M. Singh said he was "going to make a detailed complaint in this regard to the Election Commission".

Asked why he had not done so far, Singh told IANS: "I have been gathering all the evidence against him so far but now I am going to make a written complaint."

"The highly objectionable slang used by Varun in his reference to Muslims could just spark off a violent communal clash here."

Varun Guilty, News - Nation - Mumbai Mirror 23 Mar 2009

ANOTHER COMPLAINT

Varun on Sunday faced yet another charge of making a hate-speech in Pilibhit. V M Singh, his Congress rival, alleged in his complaint to the EC that Varun made another inflammatory speech at Avas Vikas/Desh Nagar on March 6, where he is heard 'making fun of the Sikh community' and Muslims as well.

Singh has submitted a CD with 28 minutes of recorded speech where Varun allegedly said, 'Lekin ek to paagal Sardar lad raha hai, jiske har samay baara baje hue hai...aur woh ek Musalmaan ka agent ban ke lad raha hai, joh Hindu usko lada rahe hai...woh Hinduo ke sabse bade gaddar hai...'

The text roughly means, "There is a mad Sikh contesting...who is contesting as an agent of a Muslim...the Hindus who are backing him are the biggest traitors of Hindus
."

Singh alleged that Varun had claimed in the CD that he does not want a single Muslim vote and asks the Hindus to come together. Varun was also heard saying that 'Hindu armies' would be formed and given arms licences, procured both 'formally and informally.

Sources said Singh has claimed that the clips were made from mobile phones and were authentic.

The CD, submitted by the Congress candidate to the EC on Saturday, allegedly shows Varun Gandhi ridiculing a candidate, "Ek to Riaz lad raha hai...Riaz Ahmed toh khula Pakistani hai (One Riaz is contesting...this Riaz Ahmed is openly Pakistani)".

"These people will have to be caught and vasectomy performed on them," Varun had allegedly said in the CD.

The 29-year old candidate from BJP also tells the crowd that those Hindus who don't vote will be committing treachery against his religion.

Gandhi relative's hate video shocks India Guardian UK Thu March 19
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/19/india-politics-gandhi-racism 

Varun Gandhi, the lesser-known grandson of Indira Gandhi, was pitched into the centre of a national row yesterday after an election campaign video showed him apparently delivering a venomous attack on Muslims.

The video, played repeatedly on Indian news television channels and on websites, shows him denigrating Muslims while addressing an election meeting in his parliamentary constituency in northern Uttar Pradesh, the home state of the charismatic Nehru-Gandhi family.

The election commission, which is overseeing the April-May vote, ruled yesterday that all future rallies held by Varun Gandhi should be monitored and recorded on video, and ordered his party leadership to explain his actions.

Though Gandhi doesn't deny giving the controversial speech, he insisted the video had been "doctored" and that what he said was "mangled".

"I believe very firmly that this is the result of a political conspiracy," he said. "This is not my voice, those are not my words. I've a soft voice, [but in the video] I sound like [Bollywood star] Amitabh Bachchan."

The state election authorities have ordered an investigation, and the local police have registered a criminal case and sent the video for forensic tests. Gandhi is a candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), whose leaders often stridently promote Hindu causes.

"The video contains outrageous statements," said Aditi Phadnis, a political analyst. "It's dreadful. If Varun said all that then obviously what propelled him was the desire to polarise voters along communal lines. He wants to consolidate the Hindu vote behind him." A Congress leader demanded that Gandhi be arrested and prosecuted.

Gandhi, 29, is seeking to make his debut entry into parliament from Pilibhit, a constituency long nurtured by his mother, Maneka Gandhi.

In Pilibhit the number of Muslim voters, traditionally hostile to the BJP, has shot up to 420,000, increasing the pressure on Varun Gandhi to mobilise his base. In the video he is seen telling the audience: "Go to your villages and give the call that all Hindus must unite to save this area from becoming Pakistan."

He is even heard mocking a rival candidate, a bearded Muslim, calling him Osama bin Laden, and then saying: "America couldn't get Osama, but Varun Gandhi will catch many after the elections."

"This is not the 'hand' [a reference to the Congress election symbol], this is the hand of the 'lotus' [the BJP symbol]," Gandhi is seen as saying, with his palm raised toward the crowd.

"After the election [this hand] will cut the throat of the circumcised [a derogatory colloquial Hindi reference to Muslims]. Hail Lord Ram!"



All four Nehru-Gandhi family members active in politics are contesting the forthcoming polls from Uttar Pradesh, but from opposite sides of the political divide.

Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, projected as a future prime minister, are contesting as leaders of the Congress party which is currently in power, while a family feud made Varun and his mother join the opposition BJP.

Until now, despite the family squabble, all the Nehru-Gandhis have had a reputation for being secular and untainted by communal politics. The venomous statements in the campaign trail video have therefore shocked the nation.

If the video is genuine, analysts say, it shows the extent to which some politicians would go to divide voters and win an election. "People who know Varun say he's a very intelligent young man," said Phadnis. "But sometimes people who are too sharp can end up cutting themselves."

Varun Gandhi's hate-Muslim speech makes his BJP squirm Mar 17, 2009
His remarks are condemnable, unethical, immoral, unacceptable and illegal / against law.  Varun is associated with a party (BJP) which has this (anti-minority) ideology and culture.

Shiv Sena asks BJP to back Varun Gandhi The Hindu Thu Mar 19
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/19/stories/2009031960901000.htm 

MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena has come out strongly in support of the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency, Varun Gandhi, whose alleged communal remarks have raised a controversy.

Waxing eloquence on Varun, the editorial observes that the young man is a forceful reminder of his father. It is like Sanjay Gandhi is reborn and speaking through his son.

Like father, like son. Like Sanjay, like Varun.

Varun Gandhi targets Muslims, BJP shocked Tue, Mar 17, 2009

EC files criminal case against Varun Gandhi Indian Exp Tue, Mar 17

EC issues notice to Varun Gandhi for communal remarks Times of India March 17

EC files criminal case against Varun Gandhi CNN-IBN March 17

EC files criminal case against Varun Gandhi Indian Exp Mar 17, 2009

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videoshow/4275132.cms

On a complaint from the Congress party, Varun was slapped with a notice by the Election Commission charging him with violation of the model code of conduct for elections by his alleged making communal remarks or anti-Muslim speeches during a rally held on March 6 in Pilibhit.

Acting prompt and tough, the Election Commission on Tuesday ordered filing of a criminal case against BJP candidate Varun Gandhi for his alleged inflammatory speech with communal overtones and served notice to the party seeking its explanation.

The three-member Commission which met on Tuesday and discussed the speeches of Varun, a member of the Gandhi-Nehru family, in Pilibhit in which he had made inflammatory comments against the members of a minority community. The comments drew sharp criticism from within his party and allies and outside.

In a slew of decisions, the EC directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer to file a case against Indian Penal Code and Representation of the People Act against Gandhi and issued a notice to him for violation of Model Code of Conduct.

The police quickly filed a case against him. Shortly later, the Station Officer of Barkhera filed a case against Gandhi under provisions of IPC and RPA relating to speeches intended to cause enmity among people on religious grounds.

The provisions speak of punishment of imprisonment up to three years.

Under the law, a person convicted of an offence with imprisonment of not less than two years, could be barred from contesting elections.

BJP was also slapped with a notice over Gandhi's remarks. It ordered issue of notice to BJP and Gandhi for alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct.

The EC also ordered transfer of District officials and suspended two others for alleged dereliction of duty.

"Notices have been issued to BJP candidate from Pilibhit and state unit president for their alleged communal remarks. They have been asked to submit their replies," election officials in Lucknow said here.

The Commission sought an explanation from Gandhi, who is making his electoral debut from Pilibhit, for alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct.

"Making communal or casteist remarks amounts to violation of the model code of conduct," officials said.

AGONY AUNT: Ambika Shukla pulls away BJP leader Varun Gandhi from his interview to CNN-IBN.

AGONY AUNT: Ambika Shukla pulls away BJP leader Varun Gandhi from his interview to CNN-IBN.
I spoke for Hindus, says defiant Varun Gandhi CNN-IBN Wed, Mar 18, 2009 http://ibnlive.in.com/news/i-spoke-for-hindus-says-defiant-varun-gandhi/88023-37.html

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88023/i-spoke-for-hindus-says-defiant-varun-gandhi.html 

New Delhi:
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi on Wednesday denied speaking against Muslims and claimed he was being called communal because he spoke for Hindus.

"Statements that have been put in my mouth are not true," Varun told CNN-IBN in Delhi on Wednesday after announcing at a press conference that he would not apologise for a speech he made in Pilibhit, the constituency in Uttar Pradesh where he is fighting elections.



"I never made any communal statements. I went to an area in which I felt Hindus were being targeted, so I spoke in favour of the Hindu community. It is a very sad day in the Indian politics when anyone who speaks for Hindus is branded communal," Varun told Pallavi Ghosh, CNN-IBN's Chief Political Correspondent.

"All statements that have been put in my mouth are not true. There is no question of me making communal statements and they have been put it into my mouth," he said.

"I stand for India and my legacy has always been to stand for everybody and not to just stand against anybody."

Varun, who has been booked in a criminal case for his statements, alleged the CD showing him making the speech was doctored. "Where was this CD for 15 days? Who was doctoring it? That is not my voice."

The BJP leader refused to comment whether he suspected a conspiracy but said it was clear 'who stands to gain' from the controversy.

Varun denied that his speech had embarrassed the BJP. "If I have not said what I have been accused of saying, then obviously I have not embarrassed anybody, including myself."

"The party (BJP) has an ideology of protecting Hindus. I have tried to protect the weaker sections of Hindus, who have been targeted by anti-nationals, by people from across the border because it is a border constituency (Pilibhit)."

Asked if the controversy had become intense because of his surname, he said: "Yes, but I would like to say that I stand for the truth but what I have not said I must firmly say that I have not said it."

Midway through the interview, Varun's aunt Ambika Shukla pulled him away. CNN-IBN has learnt that the BJP had asked Varun not to hold the press conference.

Varun's rallies to be video-tracked The Hindu Thu, Mar 19, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/19/stories/2009031958260100.htm

He and party to reply to notice by 11 a.m. Friday, Mar 20, 2009

NEW DELHI: BJP leader Varun Gandhi, who has attracted widespread condemnation for his alleged "inflammatory" communal speeches in his Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, will hereafter come under the watchful eyes of the Election Commission. It has ordered video-tracking of all his visits, rallies and functions.

The full Commission - Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S.Y. Quraishi - on Wednesday directed Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer A.K. Bishnoi to depute a video cameraperson to accompany a magistrate and to provide them adequate security to do the job.

In notices sent to Mr. Gandhi and the national and Uttar Pradesh State presidents of the BJP, in Delhi and Lucknow respectively, the Commission sought an explanation from them by 11 a.m. on Friday for disregarding and violating the provisions of the model code of conduct, failing which it will take further action. It also enclosed copies of the CD that allegedly contains a speech of Varun.

The Commission told the grandson of Indira Gandhi: "Based on the report of the CEO, you [Varun] have violated the model code of conduct by inciting communal feeling through your speeches."

What the code says

It pointed to the relevant provisions in the code that said: "No party or candidate shall indulge in any activity, which may aggravate the existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic;" and " there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as a forum for election propaganda."

The Commission said it received a report from the Pilibhit District Election Officer through the CEO, which said, "BJP member Varun Gandhi has violated the code by inciting communal feelings through his speeches made at public gatherings at Mohalla Dalchand, Kotwali Pilibhit and Kasba Barkheda on March 7 and 8."

The Commission on Tuesday ordered registration of a criminal case against Mr. Gandhi under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for his "communal speeches." It also ordered suspension/transfer of some district officials.

EC orders video tracking of all Varun rallies CNN-IBN Wed, Mar 18, 2009
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/ec-orders-video-tracking-of-all-varun-gandhi-rallies/88028-37.html 

UNDER SCANNER: BJP leader Varun Gandhi speaks to media outside his residence.
UNDER SCANNER: BJP leader Varun Gandhi speaks to media outside his residence.
New Delhi: Holding that his anti-Muslim speeches amount to violation of the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission on Wednesday slapped notices on Varun Gandhi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking their response by Friday, even as it ordered video tracking of his entire campaign.

"The Commission is of the opinion that the above action on your part amounts to violation of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct," the EC said in its notice, referring to the speeches made by Gandhi in Mohalla Dalchand, Kotwali Pilibhit and Kasba Barkheda in Uttar Pradesh on March 7 and 8.

"Therefore, you are called upon to explain by 1100 hrs IST on March 20 as to why action should not be taken against you," the EC said, a day after filing a criminal case against Varun for his inflammatory utterances.

In its notice to BJP President Rajnath Singh, the EC said that it was of the opinion that the action of Gandhi as a member of BJP amounted to violation of Model Code of Conduct and asked it to reply by Friday as to why the party disregarded and violated the provisions of the Code.

The Commission said it has received a report of the District Election Officer, Pilibhit, on Tuesday stating that "you (Varun Gandhi) have violated the Model Code of Conduct by inciting communal feeling through your speeches".

A copy of the CD was sent to both Varun and the party.

Meanwhile, the Commission ordered video tracking of all visits, rallies and functions of Varun Gandhi.

In its communication to the Chief Electoral Officer of UP, the Commission directed him to depute a video cameraperson with a Magistrate all the time with security.

The Commission cited the provisions of the Model Code which said no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between difference castes and communities, religious or linguistic.

Under another provision, there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.


Plilbhit Muslims angry, bewildered at 'kid' Varun
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/plilbhit-muslims-angry-bewildered-at-kid-varun/88153-37.html
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88153/plilbhit-muslims-angry-bewildered-at-kid-varun.html
WAR ON VARUN: Pilibhit remains a town divided and a little embarrassed.
WAR ON VARUN: Pilibhit remains a town divided and a little embarrassed.
Muslims in Pilibhit are eager to know the latest on Varun Gandhi. While there is silent anger brimming in the community, there is also a strong sense of disbelief that the great grandson of Nehru could stoop so low for a few extra votes.

"He used to come to our place with his mother when he was a kid and now suddenly we are strangers to him," says a resident Mohammed Rehaan.

A historical town on the Nepal border, Pilibhit has a long history of communal tension. But it is also a town renowned for its culture where Hindus and Muslims pray together at Sufi shrines and dargahs.

Clearly Varun Gandhi's rally hit the religious fault-lines in the city. After all it's been 20 years that Maneka Gandhi will not be contesting from Pilibhit.

Unlike her son, the Gandhi bahu never tried to play the religious angle, instead making news mostly on issues concerning the environment.

But the BJP in Pilibhit is eager to cash in on the new blood.

"He's fresh blood. He will do what he says," says BJP district chief, Yogendra Singh Gangwar.

While there are some who believe that once Varun wins the elections, he will shed his naivete, there are others who say that Varun's comments have already done the damage in Pilibhit.

Even as Varun Gandhi's fate hangs, Pilibhit remains a town divided and a little embarrassed.

Varun Gandhi moves Allahabad HC challenging FIR Thu, Mar 19, 2009
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/varun-gandhi-moves-allahabad-hc-challenging-fir/88144-37.html
ROYAL MESS: Varun moved the HC with a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed on March 17.
ROYAL MESS: Varun moved the HC with a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed on March 17.
Embattled BJP leader Varun Gandhi, against whom a criminal case was filed over his alleged anti-Muslim speeches, on Thursday knocked the doors of two separate high courts seeking to quash charges against him and prevent his possible arrest even as he appeared headed for more trouble for allegedly distributing money in Pilibhit.

Adding to the heat on Varun who had dismissed the CD of his alleged inflammatory speech, the Election Commission (EC) said it has seen the video footage and it was up to him to prove that the tape was tampered with.

Varun moved the Allahabad High Court with a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed on March 17 at Barkheda Police Station in Piliphit under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of Indian Penal Code and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.

Varun alleged in his petition that the FIR, which was lodged nine days after he had made the speeches, was "a part of a political conspiracy to spoil" his political career and "tarnish" his "secular image".

He has also alleged the video footage of a public meeting, on the basis of which the EC has taken action against him, "has been tampered with" and did not contain his voice.

Varun also approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail with his counsel telling a Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah that there was apprehension of his arrest since the provision for anticipatory bail was not available in Uttar Pradesh.

Appearing before Delhi High Court, the counsel of the 29-year-old politician, seeking to make his electoral debut, pleaded that the police be restrained from taking any action against him on the basis of the FIR lodged in Uttar Pradesh.

The counsel submitted Varun is a law abiding citizens and would co-operate in the investigation.

A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidharan agreed to list the matter for Friday.

However, Varun could find himself in more trouble as the EC sought a report on his alleged distribution of money on March 4 in Pilibhit where the district administration said an inquiry had found the allegation to be true.

"The Commission today got some inputs regarding alleged distribution of money by the BJP candidate and it has sought a report from the district magistrate in this regard," Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi told reporters in Lucknow.

Pilibhit sub-divisional magistrate M A Akhtar said an inquiry conducted by the district administration had found that Varun distributed money to some people in Bisalpur village on March 4.

He said two separate FIRs were lodged against Varun for allegedly making inflammatory remarks and inciting communal feelings during rallies held on March 2 and March 8 and EC also has "some inputs regarding a similar meeting held on February 22, on which a separate report has been sought from the district magistrate".

Proving CD tampered with is Varun's job: CEC Fri, Mar 20, 2009
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/proving-cd-tampered-with-is-varuns-job-cec/88173-37.html
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/88173/proving-cd-tampered-with-is-varuns-job-cec.html
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE: The Election Commissioner has ordered DM's to record speeches from now on.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE: The Election Commissioner has ordered DM's to record speeches from now on.
Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami has made it clear that the onus of proving that the video CD - containing the inflammatory hate speech by BJP's Varun Gandhi - was tampered with, rests with Varun himself.

"We have seen the videos. It is for Varun to prove that it has been tampered with. The question of disqualification arises only when nomination starts," N Gopalaswami said.

Varun has applied for anticipatory bail in the criminal case slapped on him. Two more cases have also been filed against him in Pilibhit for distributing money.

The BJP has already said that his remarks don't have the party's approval. At the time the comments were made, Varun had not been given the official BJP symbol.

However, the young Gandhi has himself remained defiant saying the CD has been doctored with. He has time till 11:00 hrs on Friday morning to reply to the Election Commission's (EC) notice.

The EC, meanwhile, has ordered extensive video coverage of campaigns in Bengal. District Magistrates have been asked to keep pictures and the video footage in their custody.

Varun, the 29-year-old son of five-time Pilibhit MP Maneka Gandhi, has created a storm by adopting a fanatical pro-Hindu stance in his speeches.

An unfazed Varun Gandhi asserted on Wednesday that he was a "Gandhi, a Hindu and an Indian" and insisted that the CD showing him making inflammatory speeches was doctored.

The poll panel served notices to Varun Gandhi, BJP President Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh BJP Chief Ramapati Ram Tripathi to explain why they "disregarded and violated the provisions of the model code of conduct".

Asked about the action taken by the commission against Varun Gandhi and the BJP, Gopalaswami said: "Regarding Varun we have already taken action against him. As far as BJP is concerned, we will decide when they reply to our notice."

HELPLESS LAW: Unless proven that hate-speech in the CD is the truth, EC cannot bar Varun on suspicion alone. Sun, Mar 22, 2009
HELPLESS LAW: Unless proven that hate-speech in the CD is the truth, EC cannot bar Varun on suspicion alone.
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/v-is-for-varun-gandhi-venom-of-hate-speech/88337-37-single.html 

Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundations of a secular and inclusive India. His great-grandson, Varun Gandhi, is accused of making a violent speech against Muslims.

Varun, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, seems like a religious fanatic from the speech. "If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus, or thinks they are weak, there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the (Bhagvad) Gita that I will cut off that hand," he allegedly said.

And that was just one of several vitriolic statements he allegedly made. The Election Commission has served a notice on Varun and asked him to prove his claim that the CD showing him speaking against Muslims has been doctored.

The outrage at Varun's speech was sharper because of his famous surname but he is not the first politician who has tried to improve his career by spreading hate and threatening communities.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his estranged nephew Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray made their careers by giving controversial speeches or writing fiery edits.

Hindu leaders Ashok Singhal, Uma Bharati and Sadhvi Ritambara have been booked for controversial speeches but were never found guilty. Haji Yakoob Qureshi, once a minister in Uttar Pradesh, offered a reward on the head of the Danish cartoonist artist who had sketched the Prophet.

Should Varun Gandhi and leaders who spread hatred be barred from contesting elections? Is the law unable to bar such leaders? CNN-IBN%u2019s Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai asked a panel of legal experts, politicians and social commentators.

The politicians on the show were former BJP MP and general secretary of the Jana Sangh Prafull Goradia and Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

Senior lawyer and former attorney general Soli Sorabjee and Rahul Narvekar, legal advisor to the Shiv Sena commented on the legal aspects of the controversy.

Sadia Dehlvi, columnist and activist, and Suhel Seth, columnist and managing partner of Counselage, were the other guests on the show.

"There is no ambiguity about it: he (Varun Gandhi) must be barred from contesting polls. Anybody who tries to polarise society has no right to be in public life," said Tewari, who denied that the Congress was soft on the BJP leader because he was a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

The point is not Manmohan Singh, the Congress or the BJP--the point is Varun Gandhi, said Suhel Seth. "We need demonstrable punishment for people who vitiate the polling process whether on religion, caste, creed or by giving money.



"The moment you talk about Muslims and Hindus you will raise one antennae or the other. Move away, talk about development and have demonstrable punishment both for the political party as well as the political representative," said Seth.



Free speech and law



Punishing Varun Gandhi by barring him from elections will be legally impossible right now. That can be done only when a court finds him guilty. Is that a flaw in our system?

Varun has a right to speak but the law bars him from spreading hate, said Tewari. "Article 19 of the Constitution clearly says free speech but with reasonable restrictions. Any party or individual who try to vitiate the atmosphere has no right to be in the political mainstream," he said.

Spill hate, spin votes?

Varun is just the latest in a long list of politicians who have found that hateful and controversial speeches and campaigning ensures attention and votes. The Congress won a landslide victory in Parliament in 1984 after a campaign which allegedly targeted Sikhs.

Narendra Modi in Gujarat and Bal Thackeray in Maharashtra have run similar campaigns too. Is hate mongering the hidden agenda in all election campaigns? Do politicians think they can get away with hate speeches?

People are out of sync if they think they can get away, said Dehlvi. "People realise that we cannot build anything on hate. People are concerned about security. We are in an economic crisis and people are just worried about living a peaceful life. The BJP's Mandir idea worked 10-15 years ago--now it is a failed idea," said Dehlvi.

Hate, like pornography, sells but it cannot become a replacement or relevant, said Seth. "If he (Varun) had something nice and calm we wouldn't been having this discussion. Pornography sells but no one would replace education textbooks with pornography.

"Narendra Modi has moved from hate to development because hate is not an enduring benefit," said Seth.



The Congress didn't run a hate campaign in 1984, said Tewari. "In 1984 if the Congress got 415 seats it was primarily because it was a national tribute to Mrs Indira Gandhi as well as a vote for change. If it had been a hate or negative campaign we would have picked up some seats in Punjab. We lost all 13 seats in Punjab," he said.

Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray is the only famous politician to have been found guilty of a hate speech. That was years ago and Thackeray's sentence was commuted. Is it all history for the Shiv Sena now?

Varun Gandhi has the right to free speech but not to spread hate and slander communities. How can the country stop politicians from using hate as a political tool?



Sorabjee suggested two solutions: zero-tolerance for hate speeches and amendment to laws. "There can be an injunction against a person for spreading communal hatred and causing disharmony, because ordinary people suffer from this vituperative venom which is being spread," he said.

Hate and intolerance can't be the basis of India. "The only thing we have to hold sacred as a collective society is the Indian constitution," Dehlvi.



Ditto, said Sorabjee. "Enforce the provisions of the Constitution and think first I am an Indian. Even if there is appeasement, is to be met by dividing a community. This (hate) gets into the bloodstream of the people and the damage it can do cannot be cured by invalidating an election or sending Varun Gandhi to jail."

We appeal to the political parties to desist from making instigatory / inflammatory / provocative communal, divisive and hate speeches for their divide and rule policy/policies.
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This petition's been addressed to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, Election Commission of India or ECI, Ministry of Home Affairs or MHA, District Election Officers or DEOs, District Magistrates or DMs and City Magistrates of Commissioners' of Police or CPs.

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