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'Inflammatory, communal': Modi inciting hate in Jharkhand, poll official told

By Our Representative 
A civil society delegation of the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign, which met Jharkhand’s Chief Election Officer K Ravi Kumar, in a complaint has alleged that  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "violated" the Model Code of Conduct as well as the Representation of People Act in recent speeches in Jharkhand by giving  "inflammatory and communal". 
The complaint said, addressing election rallies in Chaibasa, Palamau and Gumla on 3-4 May respectively,  Modi "misled the public with fabricated facts to the effect that the Congress Party was planning to rob Adivasis and other communities of their property and give it to Muslims, using derogatory terms such as ‘infiltrators’ and ‘vote jihad’ "
It added, "He further misled people by saying that the Congress Party would take away reservation quota of Adivasis, Dalits and OBCs and give it to Muslims."
Calling these "fabricated and inflammatory statements", the complaint said, these are "clearly aimed at creating a fear of Muslims among many voters and make them look to the BJP for protection", insisting, "They violate the first clause of the Code of Conduct, which prohibits all parties and candidates from indulging 'in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic'."
According to the complaint, "These and other recent statements of the Prime Minister in Jharkhand also violate Section 3(A) of the Representation of People Act, which prohibits any candidate from attempting to 'promote, feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language'." 
Modi's statements are aimed at creating fear of Muslims among voters and make them look to BJP for protection
The complaint further said, "It may be recalled that the Supreme Court, in the “Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay versus Union of India & Ors.” (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 943/2021) case, has called for suo motu filing of FIRs against hate speech under IPC sections 153A, 153B, 295A and 506."
It added, "These communal statements are especially dangerous coming from the Prime Minister, who sets the tone for others. Already, there have been many other speeches of this nature from BJP leaders in recent days. The poison is spreading fast."
The civil society regretted, the CEO, "unfortunately, did not show any interest in this complaint, nor did he engage with the delegation. When the delegates pressed him on what he intended to do, he simply said that the 'rules' would need to be studied, inquiry would have to be made and the complaint would have to be forwarded to the Election Commission of India."
It added, "When the delegation asked the CEO what action would be taken to check such inflammatory and communal speech in the coming days, he remained non-committal."
The delegation comprised Elina Horo, Jean Drèze, Siraj Dutta and Tom Kavla.



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