Thousands of posters targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, put up in various parts of Delhi, have triggered a police crackdown in which 36 cases have been filed and six people have been arrested. Two of the arrested men own a printing press.
In a massive operation on Tuesday, the police took down nearly 2,000 posters from several places in Delhi. Most of these posters had the slogan "Modi hatao, desh bachao (Remove Modi, save the country)".
Police said that the arrests were made for defacing public property and under the law that requires posters to have the name of the printing press. Delhi police said that they registered 138 FIRs on Tuesday, out of which 36 were for anti-Modi posters.
"All posters should bear the name of the printer. Any violations will attract legal action. Such action is ongoing and will continue," Delhi police said in a statement.
Some 2,000 posters, which were allegedly being delivered to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s office, were seized by the police. Cops found the posters when they intercepted a van in the IP Estate area in Central Delhi. The driver told police that he had been instructed to deliver the posters to the AAP headquarters.
He said that he had delivered a similar consignment on Monday too.
The Aam Aadmi Party, in a tweet, questioned the FIRs and asked what was objectionable in the posters. The party also said that this was the "peak of Modi government's dictatorship".
मोदी सरकार की तानाशाही चरम पर है‼️— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) March 22, 2023
इस Poster में ऐसा क्या आपत्तिजनक है जो इसे लगाने पर मोदी जी ने 100 F.I.R. कर दी?
PM Modi, आपको शायद पता नहीं पर भारत एक लोकतांत्रिक देश है।
एक पोस्टर से इतना डर! क्यों? pic.twitter.com/RLseE9Djfq
The arrested printing press owners told the Delhi Police that they had received an order to print 50,000 "Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao" posters. The owners have been arrested as the posters did not have the name of the printing press.
The arrests have become the latest flashpoint between Centre and AAP. The Bharatiya Janata Party accused AAP of not following the law while putting up the posters.
"AAP doesn't have the courage to say that they put up the protests. They broke the law while putting up the posters," Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said.
The Aam Aadmi Party, on the other hand, has announced a protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar tomorrow to demand the ouster of PM Modi.