New Delhi: The advisory board of the Allahabad High Court has "strongly recommended immediate revocation" of the National Security Act (NSA) against Varun Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in Pilibhit, for his alleged hate speeches against Muslims.
The board, headed by Justice Pradeep Kant, announced the decision on Friday.
The Uttar Pradesh government charged Gandhi under the NSA on March 29 for allegedly giving communal speeches in Pilibhit and inciting his supporters to riot on March 28 when he went to surrender before the Pilibhit court.
Gandhi said on Friday the court panel’s decision had “vindicated” him and “exposed” the UP and Central governments.
“I have all along expressed full faith in the judiciary and that has been completely vindicated today. I am grateful that this conspiracy by the State and Centre for petty political gain has been exposed,” he said in a statement.
“For the 20 days that I have spent in illegal detention will have to be answered 20 times over by the authorities to the people of India. It is a historic moment, not just for me but for Indian Democracy,” he said.
UP government adamant on NSA
The UP government remained firm and will move the Supreme Court to retain NSA against Gandhi.
The BJP welcomed the court panel’s order and accused its rivals of “vendetta”.
"We knew from day one that this (invoking NSA) would not stay," said BJP’s national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“It is a big rebuff to those who played vendetta politics and vote bank politics. The entire country should know that all those Lalu (Prasad), Mayawati and others who tried to implicate Varun have been given a befitting reply," he said.
Congress spokesperson Janardhan Tiwary made a short statement, saying the “law must take its course” and he wouldn’t comment on the issue. The Congress-led Central government had turned down Gandhi’s request to revoke the NSA charge against him.
Gandhi spent 20 days in jail before the Supreme Court granted him two weeks parole on the condition he will not make any inflammatory speeches during the elections.
Gandhi has also been charges with attempt to murder, rioting and voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from doing his duty during his March 28 trip to the Pilibhit court.
Gandhi denies all the charges and claims the UP government is harassing him. The court panel's order come before Pilibhit votes on May 13 in the fifth and last phase of the fifteenth Lok Sabha elections.