Supreme Court lawyer and former Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwani Upadhyay and four others have been taken into police custody and are likely to be questioned over the anti-Muslim slogans raised at a protest he allegedly organised at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Monday, sources in Delhi Police have said. He is one of the suspects identified in the case. Sources said the Delhi Police had summoned Mr Upadhyay. The lawyer, who was in Ghaziabad, was to appear before the police at the Connaught Place station on Monday night.
Sources said raids are currently on in the city to zero in on the other suspects.
The videos of a group shouting violent anti-Muslim slogans at Jantar Mantar -- the landmark 18th Century observatory at the heart of the city which is now a protest site -- surfaced on Monday. But despite their being widely circulated no social media, no arrest was made till late Monday evening.
In the clips circulating on social media, "Ram, Ram" chants are heard along with slogans threatening Muslims. "Hindustan mein rehna hoga jai shri ram kehna hoga (To stay in India, must say Jai Shri Ram)," shout people at the rally held barely a km from parliament.
No policemen were present at the site. The police claim they had denied permission for the protest in view of Covid but a crowd had turned up.
The slogans were shouted in the presence of Narsinghanand Saraswati, a priest notorious for communal hate speeches. TV actor and BJP leader Gajendra Chauhan was also reportedly a part of the protest.
Mr Upadhyay -- who allegedly organised the protest against colonial laws -- said he had no idea who the people shouting slogans were and that he was ready to appear before the police any time on Tuesday.
In a statement, Mr Upadhyay said the program was organised by Save India Foundation. "I don't have any relation with Save India Foundation Trust. I was a guest like Mr. RVS Mani, Mr. Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Mr. Gajendra Chauhan. We reached at around 11:00 and left at 12:00. I never met these miscreants. I wish to meet you tomorrow morning to give my written statement," his statement read.
Earlier Mr Upadhyay said he was not aware of the videos. "Neither was I there when this happened, nor am I aware nor did I invite these people. This must have happened after I left. Strict action must be taken against those we can see in the videos," he told reporters.
Only five or six people were shouting slogans and that too while dispersing after the march, he said, adding that such slogans should not have been raised.