Members of right-wing groups demanded the release of Kalicharan Maharaj, a religious leader from Maharashtra who is in jail in Chhattisgarh for abusing Mahatma Gandhi and glorifying his killer Nathuram Godse. A leader of the Bajrang Sena asserted that Kalicharan did nothing wrong and only said what “everyone knows”.
“He (Kalicharan Maharaj) only said what is true. Everyone knows that. What did Gandhi do anyway? If Independence could have been achieved just by turning a spinning wheel, everyone would have done that. The sacrifice of Bhagat Singh is what brought Independence. No one got Independence by turning a charkha,” said Sandeep Kushwaha of the local Bajrang Sena unit.
The right-wing members had gone to submit a memorandum at the Commissioner’s office.
Addressed to President of India Ram Nath Kovind and Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, the memorandum demanded the registration of a sedition case against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh and Manishankar Iyyer and Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM and the release of Kalicharan.
The right-wing members alleged that the three political leaders always insult the Hindu religion.
They held a protest in front of the Gandhi statue at the heart Indore, raising slogans against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and hailing Nathuram Godse.
Kalicharan Maharaj was arrested from Madhya Pradesh’s Khajuraho earlier this week and charged with sedition for his controversial speech at a religious meeting in Madhya Pradesh capital Raipur.
In videos of his speech that were widely circulated, Kalicharan Maharaj is heard declaring that the aim of Islam is to capture the nation through politics.
“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi destroyed the country… salutations to Nathuram Godse, who killed him,” he is also heard saying.
His speech drew a vehement protest from Mahant Ramsunder Das, the programme’s chief patron, who walked off the dais.
Narottam Mishra later alleged that the Chhattisgarh Police violated inter-state protocol by arresting Kalicharan from the state without informing the local police.
Kalicharan Maharaj’s comments also created ripples in the Maharashtra Assembly, where the Shiv Sena-led government assured stern action against him.