- Chhattisgarh Chief Minister's father was arrested for remark on Brahmins
- His lawyer said he would appear before a court on September 21
- The Chief Minister had said his father would get no special treatment
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's father Nand Kumar Baghel was arrested today and sent to 15 days in custody for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Brahmins. His lawyer said he did not request bail and would appear before a court on September 21.
After his father was charged last week, the Chief Minister had stressed that he would get no special treatment.
"Nobody is above the law before my government, even if he is the Chief Minister's 86-year-old father. As Chief Minister, I have the responsibility to maintain harmony among different communities. If he made a remark against a community, I am sorry. Legal action will be taken," Bhupesh Baghel had told reporters on Sunday.
"Everyone knows about my ideological differences with my father. Our political thoughts and beliefs are different. I respect him as his son, but as Chief Minister, I cannot forgive him for such mistakes which disturb public order."
Mr Baghel also underlined that the Chhattisgarh government "respects every religion, caste and community and their sentiment". He emphasized his point on Twitter.
एक पुत्र के रूप में मैं अपने पिता जी का सम्मान करता हूँ लेकिन एक मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में उनकी किसी भी ऐसी गलती को अनदेखा नहीं किया जा सकता जो सार्वजनिक व्यवस्था को बिगाड़ने वाली हो।— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) September 5, 2021
हमारी सरकार में कोई भी कानून से ऊपर नहीं है फिर चाहे वो मुख्यमंत्री के पिता ही क्यों न हों।
During a recent visit to Uttar Pradesh, Mr Baghel's father, who heads a group for voter awareness and is a prominent OBC voice, had controversially called for a "boycott" of Brahmins and, describing them as foreigners, had urged people not to let them into their villages.
"Brahmins will be sent from the river Ganga to Volga. They are foreigners. They consider us untouchables and are snatching all our rights. I will urge villagers to not let Brahmins enter their village," Nand Kumar Baghel had said. He is known for his anti-upper caste views and his book on the theme was banned in 2000 by the Congress government at the time.
As the video of the comments emerged, an FIR was registered in Raipur on the complaint of the Sarv Brahmin Samaj against Baghel senior on Saturday night. The charges on the complaint included "promoting enmity between groups".
Chhattisgarh's opposition BJP pressed the Chief Minister to act, suggesting "VIP treatment". Sources say his arrest in Raipur preempts any trouble for Mr Baghel in poll-bound UP, where the community had urged Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to take action.
For Mr Baghel, the family drama comes days after he apparently triumphed over his in-house rival TK Singh Deo, who had laid claim to his job saying he had been assured by the Congress leadership of rotational Chief Ministership. Mr Baghel's half-term was done, Mr Singh Deo had asserted, and it was his turn. The feud threatened to snowball for the Congress as both leaders rushed to Delhi for meetings.
Mr Baghel refused to submit to any leadership change and made it clear to his party bosses that most MLAs were on his side. After a series of meetings in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi reportedly told Mr Baghel he would keep his job.