Leaders of all political lines have spoken out strongly against a video which allegedly showed objectionable slogans during a protest march organized by supporters of the Indian Popular Front (PFI) in Pune on Friday.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said such slogans would not be tolerated in the state, while Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also Home Minister, said those who engage in such slogans “will not be spared”.
A video surfaced on social media on Saturday where protesters shouted slogans supporting neighboring Pakistan. The video also showed the protesters holding up the slogan as they were herded into a police vehicle. Hindustan Times was unable to independently verify the video.
In a tweet on Saturday, Shinde condemned the pro-Pakistan slogan and said they were raised by “anti-social elements”. “The police machinery will take the appropriate measures against them. Such slogans will not be tolerated in the country of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” he said.
“If anyone brandishes a ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan in Maharashtra or India, then that person will not be spared and action will be taken against them. We will find them wherever they are and take action against them,” Fadnavis said.
Maharashtra Congress leader Nana Patole has called for the organization to be banned. “We are in favor of peace in the state and in the country and such activities will not be tolerated. The Center should ban these organizations under the UAPA, but at the same time, it should check whether there are any attempts to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims for politics.
The PFI staged a protest outside the Pune District Collector’s Office to denounce the recent nationwide raids by central, federal and state agencies on Thursday and the arrest of more than 100 members and people associated with the social group.
“We have received videos, we will investigate and verify them completely and take action accordingly,” said Sagar Patil, DCP Zone II, Pune.
Bundgarden police arrested 41 people and recorded a charge against 65 for staging Friday’s unrest without permission. The charges of unlawful assembly and blocking of roads were also added, an official said.
Pratap Mankar, senior police inspector at Bundgarden police station, said: “We didn’t give permission to demonstrate; therefore, we have booked nearly 65-70 protesters under unlawful assembly sections and the Bund Garden Police are investigating the matter further. ”
Bundgarden Police have registered an FIR under Sections 341 (punishment for unreasonable coercion), 141 (unlawful assembly), 142 (being a member of an unlawful assembly), 143 (punishment for anyone who participates in an unlawful assembly), 145 (joining or continuing unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting), 149 (the offense may be committed by any member of an unlawful assembly), 188 (Disobeying an order duly issued by an official) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 135 of the Bombay Police Act.
The PFI, created in 2006, is not a banned organization. Its members maintain that the organization works for the empowerment of marginalized sections of India.