The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Hindu Mahasabha national secretary Pooja Shakun Pandey and her husband on Tuesday from Tappal in Aligarh. She was mired in controversy after her video of recreating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on his 71st death anniversary went viral on social media.
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Aligarh: The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Hindu Mahasabha national secretary Pooja Shakun Pandey and her husband on Tuesday from Tappal in Aligarh. She was mired in controversy after her video of recreating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on his 71st death anniversary went viral on social media. She and her husband Ashok Pandey have been taken into custody.
The police had registered a case against 13 people, including Pandey. The couple had been on the run since the event on January 30. The suspects have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including committing deliberate and malicious acts to promote enmity between different groups.
A Hindu Mahasabha leader had also filed a complaint against Puja Shakun Pandey alleging that she was not a member of the organisation. Ashok Pandey, however, refuted the allegation saying they were members of the Hindu Mahasabha faction led by Chandra Prakash Kaushik.
The arrested people have been booked under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 147 (rioting), police said. Special Powers Act has also been invoked against the accused for burning the effigy.
Confirming that they have recreated Gandhi’s assassination, Ashok Pandey later said, “We don’t find anything wrong in it because the country celebrates Ravan Dahan as well by recreating the scene. We have done the act inside our office premises.” “He (Gandhi) was also responsible for Partition… Over 10 lakh Hindus died,” in a report by the Indian Express.
The organisation had recreated Gandhi’s assassination and celebrated the day as “Shaurya Divas”, or Bravery Day. In a video shared on social media, Pandey, dressed in saffron, is seen aiming a toy gun at the effigy of Gandhi. After she “shoots at” the effigy, a red-coloured liquid is seen flowing from it. The effigy was later set ablaze, as the supporters of the group shouted slogans against Gandhi and in praise of his assassin Nathuram Godse.
Hindu Mahasabha workers had also garlanded a statue of Godse, who had shot Gandhi dead in Delhi on January 30, 1948. The Hindutva outfit has held Gandhi responsible for India’s partition.
This is not the first time the Hindu Mahasabha has tried to glorify Nathuram Godse.
In 2015, the group's leader, Swami Pranavananda had announced plans to install statues of Nathuram Godse across six districts of Karnataka. He also described the assassin as a "patriot" who had worked with the blessings of Hindu nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.