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What is the legal process for raising pro-Pakistani slogans in India?

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The police in Karnataka have arrested a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker for allegedly raising a ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan during a protest in December 2022, as reported by various Indian media outlets. This arrest follows the detention of three Congress workers on similar charges, adding to the political tension surrounding slogans supporting Pakistan.

The BJP worker, identified as Ravi, 40, was taken into custody by the Mandya district police for his involvement in the pro-Pakistan slogan incident during a protest held while the BJP was in power in the state. The arrest of Ravi came shortly after the apprehension of three Congress workers who were accused of raising pro-Pakistan slogans at the state legislature building.

The backdrop of these arrests stems from a protest organized by the BJP against derogatory remarks made by then Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari towards Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The situation escalated when Ravi was captured on video chanting “Pakistan Zindabad,” leading to his subsequent arrest.

In response to these developments, conflicting narratives have emerged, with the local BJP chapter denouncing Ravi’s arrest as politically motivated. The president of the BJP’s Mandya district unit emphasized that Ravi, a farmer, was unaware of the meaning of the words he uttered due to his limited language proficiency beyond Kannada.

Karnataka’s Home Minister G Parameshwara addressed the issue by confirming that suspects involved in raising pro-Pakistan slogans had been identified and apprehended. He assured that legal procedures would be followed in dealing with the situation. The arrests have sparked debates over freedom of expression and the political motivations behind such actions, highlighting the delicate balance between individual rights and national sentiments.

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