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INDIAN communists have condemned the arrest of a prominent Dalit leader for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi over explosions of sectarian violence.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) slammed the government and Delhi police for conniving at the “illegal” bulldozing of Muslim areas inhabited by “the poorest of the poor” yesterday, continuing even after a Supreme Court order to stop.
Demolitions only halted when Brinda Karat, a 74-year-old member of the party politburo, personally led locals to block the path of the bulldozers, brandishing the Supreme Court verdict.
The CPI-M said members of the BJP’s street fighter wing, the RSS, had worked to exploit religious festivals to whip up hatred of religious minorities while accusing BJP leaders including Delhi’s Kapil Mishra of “toxic hate speeches.”
The city of Khargone in Madhya Pradesh is still under curfew following riots on April 11-12, which the CPI-M said the RSS and BJP had “systematically engineered.”
On the same day police seized Jignesh Mevani, a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly leading the State Dalit Rights Platform, after he tweeted an accusation that the prime minister worshipped (Nathuram) “Godse not God.”
Godse was the Hindu extremist who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi and opposed the creation of a secular India following independence from Britain.
The CPI-M said Mr Mevani had been arrested on “bogus grounds” and demanded his immediate release.
Fellow Dalit activists said a prosecution was intended to get the popular local leader “out of the way” for Gujarat’s elections later this year.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently in India for trade talks and will meet Mr Modi tomorrow.
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