On Friday, the Rajkot city police detained four individuals, including two workers from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for allegedly putting up banners with the message “Modi hatao, desh bachao (Remove Modi, save the country)” on city roads in Gujarat. The banners, which were written in Gujarati with white letters on a red background, were spotted on Race Course Ring Road and Om Nagar Chowk on 150 Ring Road in the city on Thursday night.
The AAP’s Rajkot unit claimed responsibility for putting up the posters but accused the police of bias in their handling of the situation. The party alleged that when anonymous hoardings defaming Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP leader, were put up across the city in October last year during the Assembly elections, the police did not accept their complaint. In contrast, the police acted swiftly in response to the banners put up by the AAP workers.
Following a complaint from Pradyuman Nagar police station’s surveillance squad, an FIR was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, including criminal conspiracy and mischief causing damage to public property. The AAP workers were accused of tying the posters on city roads without authorization.
The AAP’s Rajkot unit leader, Harshil Nayak Barasiya, accused the police of deploying personnel to protect the hoarding boards that defamed Kejriwal during the Assembly elections and failing to take their complaint seriously. Barasiya claimed that the police’s actions constituted an offense under IPC sections 166A and 166B, which prohibit disobedience of the law by public servants.
The incident has sparked controversy and debate over the freedom of speech and expression in the country, as well as allegations of political bias by law enforcement agencies. The AAP has stated that it will continue to fight against such injustices and uphold the principles of democracy.