The protest march was led by Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, legal adviser of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, which is a conglomerate of 22 local groups that have been protesting every Friday against namaz being held in public spaces in Gurgaon.
Friday’s march included Narender Singh Pahari, a former RSS and BJP leader, who had led a group that disrupted a Christmas eve function at a school last week in Pataudi, alleging religious conversion.
Mahavir Bhardwaj, state president of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti-Haryana, who had attended the ‘Dharam Sansad’ in Haridwar where several participants including Kalicharan had delivered hate speeches, also took part in the protest.
During the march, chants of “Nathuram Godse amar rahein (Long live Godse)” and “Godse saved the nation”, and calls for violence, were raised as the protesters gathered near the Deputy Commissioner’s residence at Civil Lines before marching to the DC’s office amid heavy police presence. The group included members of the Gau Rakshak Dal from Manesar, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena.
Bhardwaj, a former president of the Gurgaon district bar association who had defended a 19-year-old man who had shot at anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia in 2019, said they have submitted a memorandum addressed to the President at the DC’s office, demanding the “immediate release” of Kalicharan.
“We vigorously support the remarks made by Sant Kalicharan against Gandhi and condemn how the Chhattisgarh government has arrested him. When the country was partitioned on the basis of religion, why did Gandhi not oppose it? This country will never forgive Gandhi for his role in accepting the division of the country. The Hindu society has woken up and we will not accept any insult to our saints,” he said.
Bhardwaj was suspended from the BJP for anti-party activities in 2020 and has been leading protests against namaz in open spaces in Gugaon’s Sector 47 and Sector 12. He was among the 26 people arrested on October 29 for attempting to disrupt namaz at Sector 12 A, and later released on bail.
Pahari, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 assembly elections from Pataudi as an independent candidate, said: “When someone talks of a Hindu nation and Hindu interests, immediately there is an FIR and arrest, while others go scot free.”
Bhardwaj, who had attended the Haridwar event, said: “This insult (arrest of Kalicharan) is a way to challenge Hindu society. He (Kalicharan) did not say anything that should be punishable as per law. Due to pressure created by some traitors, he has been arrested. Hindu society should not be provoked into a situation where it becomes a question of law and order.”
Demanding action against AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, the protesters declared a reward of Rs 22 lakh to “any police officer in the country who would arrest him”. “The authorities have not taken any action against Owaisi, who has been threatening and inciting Hindus in his speeches,” said Parveen Yadav, who was also among those who disrupted namaz in Gurgaon in the recent weeks.
The memorandum, which was submitted to a tehsildar at the mini-secretariat, stated: “We, residents of Gurgaon, oppose the arrest of Sant Kalicharan. The probe has been one-sided in this case. While Owaisi has been using abusive remarks against Hindus and the police, no action has been taken against him. Through this memorandum, we appeal to the President to immediately dismiss the case against him (Kalicharan).”
Yash Garg, DC Gurgaon, did not respond to requests for a comment.
Ved Prakash, SHO, Civil Lines, said: “A group of people marched to the DC office and handed over a memorandum. The situation was peaceful. We have not received any complaint regarding the alleged sloganeering at the march and no suo motu action has been taken.”