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TN police charge Catholic priest over hate speech against PM, Amit Shah

Chennai, July 23( BPNS)

A Catholic priest in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, Father George Ponniah has been booked for delivering a hate speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He had also spoken ill against DMK ministers and several others in office.

The Parish priest delivered the hate speech in a public programme held at Arumanai, in Kanyakumari district on Sunday. The public meeting was held to condemn the closure of churches, ban on conducting prayer meetings, and denial of permit to construct a church in even Pattaya land.

The meeting also had paid tributes to activist and Jesuit priest, Father Stan Swamy. Representatives of several Christian and Muslim organisations participated in the meeting.

The priest was booked under Sections 153A( Promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) 295 A( deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 505(ii) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) and 506(i)( punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. He was also booked under Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly) 0f the IPC and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act for conducting the meeting violating the Covid-19 norms.

The priest in the widely circulated video of his speech was heard saying that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will have bad deaths and that their bodies would be consumed by dogs and worms.

He also said that even BJP and RSS loyalists and cadres were ashamed to name their children after these two leaders. He attacked senior BJP leader and Nagercoil MLA, M.R. Gandhi, and said that the leader was responsible for the communal riots of 1982 at Mandaikadu which had claimed 7 lives.

The parish priest came out strongly against DMK ministers, P.K. Sekar Babu(Hindu Religious and Charitable endowments) and T. Mano Thangaraj (Information Technology minister ) and said that these two leaders had won not due to the votes of Hindus but because of the votes of the Christians and Muslims.

While the Kanyakumari police had booked him with the above charges on Wednesday, the priest hs on Friday, released a video stating that his speech was edited and distorted on social media. He said, “ My words were twisted as if I hurt the sentiments of Hindu brothers and sisters.” He also said that he nor others on the stage during the speech had not used words or gestures that had hurt the religious sentiments of others.

The priest however profusely apologized and said,” If I or my fellow speakers had used words that were derogatory and hurting the sentiments of Hindu brothers or sisters, I wholeheartedly apologise. “

The BJP and other Hindu outfits pressed for his arrest and BJP would stage a protest across the state to press for his arrest and to detain him under the National Security Act on July 28.

It is to be noted that RSS Sarsangachalak Mohan Bhagwat is in Tamil Nadu for a four-day programme of the South Zone office bearers of the Sangh.