Petition seeks cancellation of FIRs over posters criticizing Modi
A petitioner has moved the Supreme Court (SC), seeking the cancellation of FIRs registered by the Delhi Police against those accused of putting up posters criticizing the Narendra Modi government's move to export COVID-19 vaccines. The petition—filed by Pradeep Kumar—cites the right to freedom of speech and expression and prays that the Delhi Police be directed to not register FIRs in this regard.
25 FIRs registered, more on the way amid locals' complaints
So far, 25 people have been arrested and 25 FIRs have been registered. The police is registering more FIRs after receiving complaints, according to The Indian Express. The arrests were made by four different divisions of the Delhi Police, which is under the Centre's jurisdiction. Plastered across the city, the posters asked in Hindi, "Modi ji, why did you send our children's vaccines abroad?"
Those arrested released on bail, probe on: Police
The probe is still on to track who commissioned the posters put up by the arrested accused, all of whom have been released on bail, a senior officer said. The investigation comes even as Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been claiming a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines and said that Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech refused to supply additional vaccines on the Centre's order.
AAP leader behind posters is absconding: Delhi Police
Delhi Police on Sunday said AAP leader Arvind Gautam was behind the posters in the Mangolpuri area and said that he was absconding. The officers were patrolling to ensure lockdown guidelines and noticed walls in several areas being "defaced by pasting posters." The police alleged that AAP leaders were also involved in pasting the posters in other parts of the national capital.
Will put up posters across India: AAP leader on arrests
Later, Aam Aadmi Party owned up to putting up the posters and claimed that its workers were being harassed by Delhi Police. AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said, "The Aam Aadmi Party has put up these posters, and now we will put it all over the country." Several AAP workers from Mongolpuri, Ghonda, Karawal Nagar, and Rithala areas of Delhi have been arrested, he claimed.
'Why did you send our vaccines to Pakistan?'
"If you have to arrest someone, then arrest us but don't arrest those poor people who paste these posters. You will have to reply to why you sent our vaccines abroad? Why did you send it to Pakistan?" questioned the AAP leader.
Many accused are daily wage workers, jobless youths: Report
Several of those picked up were either daily wage workers, who print or put up posters and banners for a living, or jobless youths, reported TIE. At Mandawali in east Delhi, Rahul Tyagi said he was given 20 banners by staff at AAP councilor Dhirender Kumar's office. He was promised Rs. 600 for putting them up in Kalyanpuri. However, Kumar had denied the claim.
Opposition leaders slam Centre for 'misusing' Delhi Police
Following the arrests, prominent political leaders across the country took to social media and slammed the Centre for allegedly misusing the Delhi Police. Congress leaders Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi used an image of the poster as the display picture on their Twitter profiles and demanded the police arrest them as well. The Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) also expressed their solidarity with the arrested accused.
Health Minister had slammed approach inducing 'political passion' among citizens
Referring to various states' demands of increasing their respective COVID-19 vaccines' quota amid acute shortage, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had said this approach arouses "narrow political passion among the masses." Meanwhile, several centers in Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, and Rajasthan have halted vaccination of people below 45 years temporarily, citing the Centre's directive to prioritize vaccination for the 45+ age group.