Several BJP leaders have been detained in Chennai for taking out a protest to demand the arrest of a Congress-affiliated orator accused of making a controversial speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah earlier this week.
Among those taken into custody from the protest venue at Marina Beach were former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, BJP national secretary H Raja and senior party leaders La Ganesan and CP Radhakrishnan.
Although a case has been filed against the orator -- Nellai Kannan -- in connection with the "derogatory" speech in Tirunelveli on Sunday, he is yet to be arrested. The police had reached the orator's residence on Tuesday to take him into custody, but were told that he was suffering from "chest pain". Following this, they called an ambulance to take him to a hospital instead.
Nellai Kannan has been booked on several charges, including instigating violence between two communities and causing intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, after a video of his purported speech at the Tirunelveli meet against the Citizenship Amendment Act was circulated widely on social media. He had allegedly expressed "shock" over why Muslims were yet to act against PM Modi and Amit Shah at the event, organised by the Social Democratic Party of India.
The case against Nellai Kannan was lodged after BJP's Nellai district leader Dhaya Shankar filed a police complaint stating that such remarks amounted to being an "open threat to PM Modi and Amit Shah's lives". He demanded that the Tamil orator also be charged under criminal incitement and abetment of murder, which were punishable crimes under the Indian Penal Code.
Party general secretary KS Narendran filed a separate petition with the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police, seeking stringent action against the orator for making remarks that could potentially trigger communal clashes and harm national integrity. He claimed that Nellai Kannan also made derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, among others, in his controversial speech.
BJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupati has shared a police complaint he filed online with NDTV.
Police said they have received another complaint against Nellai Kannan from the ruling AIADMK.
(With inputs from PTI)