Bhopal: At least three separate cases were registered against 5-6 BJP leaders, including Indore BJP chief Rajesh Sonkar, Tuesday for organising ‘Kalash Yatras’ in poll-bound Sanver in Indore district.
DIG (Indore) Harinarayan Chari Mishra said a few cases have been lodged in connection with the yatras under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the IPC and the charges could increase if investigation finds negligence.
The yatras have been going on since 3 September — to celebrate a proposed pipeline project that will bring Narmada waters to Sanver — in violation of Covid-19 safety norms.
Carrying kalash (water pots) on their heads, hundreds of women, just a few wearing masks, walked in close proximity through villages in what state Water Resources Minister Tulsiram Silawat described as a “matter of faith” Tuesday.
Sonkar said the yatras are likely to be taken out for two more days.
Indore is the worst affected district in Madhya Pradesh with 15,165 total cases, including 4,239 active cases, and 427 deaths until 8 September. On Tuesday, the district recorded 295 fresh cases.
Silawat was health minister in the previous Congress government and will have to win a by-election to validate his stay in office.
Although the dates for the by-elections for 27 seats have not yet been announced, Silawat will be the BJP candidate from Sanver.
He told the media Tuesday that efforts will be made to minimise participation of women in the processions. However, yatras taken out Tuesday had more participants than previous days and most of them didn’t wear masks.
Govt acted under ‘Congress’ pressure
Sonkar claimed the yatras were being taken out by the local residents, who were enthusiastic about the pipeline project.
BJP workers have been handing out masks and sanitisers, and appealing people to maintain social distancing during the yatras, he said, blaming the police cases on the Congress.
“They are finding it difficult to digest the response the processions are getting,” he told ThePrint. “The administration has acted under pressure from the Congress party.”
‘Congress didn’t oppose the yatras’
Former Congress Lok Sabha MP Premchand Guddu, who is one of the main contenders for the Congress ticket from Sanver, told ThePrint more than 60 processions have been organised in the last few days.
He said the administration acted under media pressure, and claimed that the Congress did not oppose the yatras and did not file any complaint.
Ridiculing the BJP’s claim that the processions were being taken out by the local residents, Guddu said Silawat’s Facebook account is proof of the ruling party’s involvement.
Silawat had posted about the yatra on his Facebook page Sunday.
The Congress leader also accused the administration of being lenient with BJP and its leaders, saying that cases were filed against Congress functionaries quickly for smaller violations.
Both Silawat and Guddu were among politicians who tested positive for Covid-19 in July.
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