The Gujarat chief of the Aam Aadmi Party was released around three hours after he was detained from the National Commission of Women's Delhi office this afternoon over a controversial video in which he was allegedly heard using derogatory language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Gopal Italia had appeared before the Commission's office earlier in the day in response to summons in the case. He was taken away in a police car minutes after he claimed Rekha Sharma, NCW chief, threatened to put him in jail.
"Instead of hearing me out, the NCW chairmperson called the police and sent me to the police station. This shows the entire BJP is plotting against the Patel community. They had many of us shot. They are jealous of Patidars. They want to harass me at any cost. The cops admitted they had orders from above to detain me," he told NDTV after his release.
"She abused me when I went to her office. I just left with folded hands," Mr Italia said.
Mr Italia's allegations came after Ms Sharma accused Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers of trying to mob her office. This triggered another flashpoint between the AAP and BJP with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacking the BJP for being after Mr Italia.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia too slammed the BJP and said Mr Italia was detained because he belonged to a party that knows how to build schools. "They don't know how to educate people and improve schools," the senior AAP leader said.
"BJP's police, BJP's women's commission, are behind every single institution. The hatred of the BJP for the Patidar community is visible to all today," AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj told reporters.
BJP की Police, BJP का Women Commission, BJP के अधीन हर एक Institution @Gopal_Italia के पीछे पड़ा हुआ है।— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) October 13, 2022
पाटीदार समाज से भाजपा की नफ़रत आज सबको नज़र आ रही है।
The case pertains to a controversial video, reportedly from 2018, in which Mr Italia was allegedly heard using abusive terms, including "neech aadmi (lowly person)", to describe PM Modi. The Commission had summoned him to its office today in the case, stating that his language was "gender-based" and "misogynistic".
"He denied getting the summons, but his reply was ready. He also denied his presence in the video but in his reply, he accepted tweeting. He claimed it wasn't him in the video," said the women's panel chief.
Earlier in the day, she claimed on Twitter that AAP workers were picketing her office. Tagging the Prime Minister's Office and other police handles, she also shared a photo of a crowd holding banners.
Nearly an hour later, Mr Italia claimed on Twitter the Commission's chief was threatening to put him in jail and even called the police.
"The NCW chief is threatening to put me in jail. What else can the Modi government give to the Patel community. The BJP hates the Patidar community. I am a descendant of Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel. I'm not afraid of your prisons. Put me in jail. Even the police have been called. I am being threatened," he said in a tweet.
Mr Kejriwal retweeted his tweet, wondering, "Why is the entire BJP after Gopal Italia?"