Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader Pooja Pandey and her husband Ashok Pandey were booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police from Tappal, for recreating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary on January 30.
Pooja Pandey is the national secretary of the right-wing Hindu nationalist party. Earlier, three people were arrested after a video of a Hindu fringe group’s workers shooting an effigy of Mahatma Gandhi with an air pistol went viral.
An FIR was filed against nine people, including Pooja and her husband and ABHM national spokesperson Ashok. They 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.
In the video that went viral on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Pooja was seen shooting thrice at the late leader’s effigy with an air pistol and then burning it later at the Hindu Mahasabha office in Gandhi Park. The ABHM members also allegedly garlanded Nathuram Godse.
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,” he added.
ABHM has always celebrated Gandhi’s death anniversary as ‘Shaurya Divas’ or Martyr’s Day, but they have never gone to the extent of shooting at an effigy of the Mahatma in celebration.