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Varun Gandhi faces charges for ‘hate speech’

Varun Gandhi faces charges for ‘hate speech’
AFP
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First Published: Tue, Mar 17 2009. 08 10 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Mar 17 2009. 08 10 PM IST
New Delhi: The grandson of late prime minister Indira Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi, was facing criminal charges on Tuesday for allegedly inciting violence against Muslims while campaigning for next month’s general elections.
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Gandhi reportedly told a rally that BJP would “cut the head of Muslims”.
According to footage aired by the NDTV news channel, Varun Gandhi also said Muslims “have scary names like Karimullah, Mazullah” and that “if you meet them at night you will be scared”.
The Election Commission said it had reviewed his speeches and had ordered he face “criminal charges” in Uttar Pradesh, where the speech was given, for stoking sectarian tensions.
An Election Commission official said an official warning was also to be issued to the BJP.
A Congress spokesman accused the BJP of being a party with an anti-minority ideology.
A BJP spokesman, however, insisted that “the traditional culture of BJP can never teach a person to speak so irresponsibly”.
In his defence, Varun said the recordings of his speeches had been tampered with.
India goes to the polls to elect a new parliament and government from 16 April to 13 May.
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First Published: Tue, Mar 17 2009. 08 10 PM IST