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Varun charged under NSA
Published on 30 Mar. 2009 12:51 AM IST
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MANEKA SAYS IT’S A CONSPIRACY; ADVANI DOES A BALANCING ACT The Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh late Sunday invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi for his reported hate speeches and mob violence during his arrest Saturday. Announcing the state administration’s decision at a late night press conference, Principal Secretary (Information) Vijay Shankar Pandey said: “In view of the highly provocative and communally charged speeches delivered by him at two places followed by organised violence by his supporters, the district magistrate of Pilibhit has clamped NSA on Varun Gandhi.” Gandhi, whom the BJP has named as its candidate from Pilibhit, about 300 km from here, is in jail after he was Saturday sent to judicial custody. His bail application was to be heard by a court in Pilibhit Monday, but the bail plea becomes infructuous as the NSA does not provide for bail for a full year. He, however, can contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “The local administration took serious cognisance of the speeches Varun Gandhi gave in Dalchand locality of Pilibhit town on March 7 and at Barkhera village on March 8,” Pandey said. “Varun Gandhi compounded his unlawful acts by disturbing public order through his inflammatory speeches outside the local court March 28 as also by giving a free hand to his supporters to indulge in acts of aggression and violence while he was being taken from the court to Pilibhit prison,” he added. A report by the Pilibhit district magistrate, submitted to the state government, says the young leader’s supporters attacked and beat up policemen, thereby creating an atmosphere of terror. Pandey said: “The state government is committed to ensuring a peaceful, free and fair poll and if anyone - no matter how high and mighty - was found to be disrupting the peaceful process, he would be firmly dealt with.” A conspiracy: Maneka Meanwhile, BJP MP Maneka Gandhi said registration of cases against her son and the saffron party’s Lok Sabha candidate Varun was part of a “political conspiracy”. Varun’s mother and Pilibhit MP Maneka Gandhi, after meeting 29-year-old Varun in the district jail, said, “The registration of cases against him is part of a political conspiracy. It is frivolous. Varun is not a criminal. It is incorrect to register cases against him.” Accompanied by Gangwar, BJP’s Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha and former UP Minister Dharampal Singh, she spent 15 minutes with Varun, who has been remanded in judicial custody till Monday after he courted arrest yesterday in a case against him for his anti-Muslim speeches. Gangwar said, “The contents of the CD have not yet been authenticated and the forensic report is still awaited. The picture will be clear after that. Therefore, Varun Gandhi cannot be called a culprit and cases cannot be registered against him. BJP fully supports him.” Advani calls for restraint Doing a balancing act on the Varun Gandhi speech episode, senior BJP leader L K Advani on Sunday asserted that the party took the “correct stand” in rejecting Election Commission’s advice not to field him for the polls but said every BJP candidate must exercise restraint in their utterances. Breaking his silence on the Varun issue since his hate speeches triggered a political storm a fortnight back, L K Advani said, “ the party(BJP) has taken a correct stand under the law and in accordance with Constitution” in rejecting the advice. Advani, who faced Congress criticism for remaining silent on the controversy, was asked whether the party would deny ticket to Varun in view of the EC advice and demands that he be not fielded for the Lok Sabha election. Varun is BJP’s nominee from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh. Advani however counselled his party candidates to show restraint in their speeches during the poll campaigns, a plea seen as a mild censure of young Varun for his alleged anti-Muslim speeches made in Pilibhit early this month. He said the BJP has disassociated itself from the content of the hate speeches purported to have been made by Gandhi, who, however, has said that they were “doctored”. Wondering over the Election Commission’s recommendation to the party not to give ticket to Gandhi, Advani said this has happened for the first time in the last 60 years. “I would like every candidate of my party to exercise restraint in his utterances. There should be peace,” Advani said. Noting that such powers as exercised in the Varun case have not been given to the EC by the Constitution or the law, Advani said, “So far as party is concerned.....the party has taken correct stand under the law and according to Constitution. I will ask government to act accordingly.” “At the moment I have nothing more to add on this issue,” he said, when he was told that the EC is saying the tape is not doctored. A day after Varun Gandhi surrendered before a Pilibhit court and arrested turning the entire event into a political spectacle, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate met the media mainly to make demands for unearthing Indian black money stashed in foreign banks.

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