Delhi Police permit ‘shoot traitors’ protest, retract after controversy

The provocative slogan was recently raised at a rally addressed by Union Minister Anurag Thakur

Delhi Police
The activist said he will take the matter to court | Representative Photo: iStock

A controversy erupted on Saturday (February 1) after activist Saket Gokhale claimed the Delhi Police has permitted him to hold a peaceful protest on Sunday where demonstrators would raise the “shoot the traitors of the nation” slogan. However, the police later refuted the claim and said no such permission was issued.

Gokhale on Saturday posted a copy of his application dated January 28 on Twitter for holding the protest, which he claimed was permitted by the police. The subject of the letter read, “Permission to carry out peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar with the slogan ‘desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro s***o ko’ on Sunday 02/02/2020”.

Saket Gokhale
The application letter posted by activist Saket Gokhale

Also read | Video shows Anurag Thakur leading crowd to chant ‘shoot the traitors’

He claimed the Delhi Police had granted him the permission to hold the rally for chanting the provocative slogan. “The permission was given to me today when I visited Parliament St. Police Station. This chant now, it seems, has state sanction,” he said in his post.

He added he has no intention of holding such a rally, but “only wanted the police to give in writing what they think of this reprehensible slogan”. “Legit protests don’t get permission. But this shockingly does. How is this ok, Delhi Police?” he asked in another tweet.

Soon after his post made rounds on social media, the official handle of DCP New Delhi said no such permission was issued to Gokhale. “It is hereby clarified that no permission to hold a protest on 02.02.2020 has been given to Sh. Saket Gokhale. A copy of his request letter is being circulated in the social media as permission, which is not the case,” it said in a tweet.

Replying to the tweet by DCP New Delhi, Gokhale said he was shown the protest venue by SI Bahadur Singh of Jantar Mantar Chowky. “I was told that the permission is for 3pm to 5pm (instead of 5pm to 7pm). There were 2 other people with me who also heard CLEARLY that permission has been given. Is it being withdrawn now like this? (sic),” he added. He also requested a copy of refusal letter.

In another post, Gokhale claimed, “I just received a call from ACP HAX cell saying that the slogan “will be problematic” in view of the ongoing Model Code of Conduct. I’ve now been “requested” to move the protest to after 8th February. If this is indeed a violation, why isn’t Anurag Thakur arrested?”

The activist also said he will be taking the matter to court. “Let the Delhi Police answer if Maanyavar has now ordered them officially to allow people to chant such slogans in contravention of the law,” he said.

In his tweets, Gokhale referred to the incident where Union minister Anurag Thakur egged on a crowd to chant the “shoot the traitors” slogan. Acting on a complaint, the Election Commission had imposed a three-day campaigning ban on the minister and ordered his removal from the BJP’s star campaigners’ list.

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