Uttar Pradesh police have arrested All India Hindu Mahasabha leader Pooja Pandey and her husband Ashok Pandey for recreating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in Aligarh on January 30, his death anniversary. New agency ANI reported that the two leaders of Hindu Mahasabha were arrested from Tappal in UP.
“No regrets. We have not committed any crime. We have used our constitutional right,” Pooja Pandey told reporters after her arrest in Aligarh.
Earlier, five people had been arrested for allegedly burning an effigy of Mahatma Gandhi. The arrested persons are accused of firing at the effigy of Mahatma Gandhi and setting it ablaze.
A video of the incident surfaced later on social media showing the accused shouting slogans against Mahatma Gandhi and praising his killer Nathu Ram Godse. The police had registered a case for promoting hatred and disturbing harmony in connection with the incident.
Accused Pooja Pandey is the national general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha. In the video, she was seen firing at the effigy. She had justified assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in the video.
The Hindu Mahasabha had organised a function in Aligarh on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi during which the members of the outfit garlanded Godse’s statue and distributed sweets. The outfit burnt the effigy of Mahatma Gandhi and said that the event would be organised every year the same way as Ravana’s effigy burning is held during Dusshera celebrations.
This is not the first time that the Hindu Mahasabha has praised Nathu Ram Godse for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Hindu Mahasabha leader Swami Pranavananda had announced in 2015 that statues of Godse would be installed in six districts of Karnataka. He had also called him a “patriot”.
This year is being celebrated as the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who was born on October 2, 1869. It was the theme of this year’s Republic Day Parade, which saw 22 huge tableaux dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
The death anniversary of Mahamta Gandhi is observed as the Martyr’s Day in India. The Hindu Mahasabha, however, treats the day as “Shaurya Divas” (Bravery Day) to honour Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathu Ram Godse, who was one of the early members of the outfit. Freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya had founded the Hindu Mahasabha in 1915.