Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera has been granted interim bail by the Supreme Court, hours after he was deboarded from a flight in Delhi and arrested by the Assam police over his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The top court also issued a notice to the Assam and UP governments to club the three FIRs that have been filed against the Congress leader in Assam’s Dima Hasao and UP’s Lucknow and Varanasi.
Khera, the Congress’s media and publicity department chief, was on his way to Raipur to attend the party’s plenary session on Thursday when he was deplaned at the Delhi airport. The arrest came days after he referred to PM Modi as “Gautam Das” at a press briefing to discuss the demand for a JPC probe into the Adani row.
“Why are you running away from a debate in parliament? Why are you scared of JPC? Even PV Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee set up JPC during their stints as prime ministers. What problem does Narendra Gautam Das, Damodardas have with a JPC?...His name is Damodardas but deeds are of Gautam Das,” Khera , with the remarks triggering a war of words between the BJP and Congress.
Meanwhile, Newslaundry reached out to Samuel Changsan, on whose complaint the FIR was filed in Assam. He is an executive member of the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council and is associated with the medical department.
The FIR, filed at Haflong police station on Wednesday under IPC sections 153(A), 153(B), 500, 504, 505(1)(B), 505(2), and 120(B), states that Khera’s remarks are a “deep-rooted conspiracy” to “destabilise the nation”. “The statements have been made intentionally to provoke party workers of BJP causing the breach of the public peace, with intent to incite violence and disturb peace and tranquillity in the society.”
Speaking to Newslaundry, Changsan said he filed the FIR as a “concerned citizen of the country” and that he was disturbed by “repeated personal attacks” against the PM. “The Prime Minister has done a series of works in even the remotest corner of the country like the Northeast, Assam, and Dima Hasao…..I am happy that based on my simple FIR, Assam Police took bold action,” he said.
Asked how Khera’s remarks disturbed social harmony, Changsan disconnected the call, saying that he was travelling in a remote area and “will speak some other time”.
Earlier, Prasanta Bhuyan, IGP (law and order), told Newslaundry that Khera’s arrest came after the FIR was filed in Assam. “He was arrested and we are going to produce him before the local court in Delhi seeking transit remand. After getting that we will bring him to the state.”