A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against Delhi Police for arresting people just for criticising PM Narendra Modi over the COVID-19 situation. The petition was filed by a person named Pradeep Kumar. Citing freedom of speech, he urged the court to direct Delhi Police not to register FIRs or act against those who put up the posters. Notably, a number of posters were put across Delhi criticising PM Modi for exporting vaccines. The posters read, “Modiji humare bachhon ki vaccine videsh kyun bhej diya (Modi ji, why did you send vaccines meant for our children to foreign countries).” Soon after the posters surfaced, the Delhi Police registered around 25 FIRs and arrested at least 24 people for allegedly pasting the posters. The FIRs were registered under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant sections, including Section 3 of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, across various districts of the Delhi Police, reported PTI.
After the arrests were made, political leaders slammed the Centre for misusing Delhi Police and even put up the poster as their display picture on social media sites in solidarity, urging the police to arrest them as well. Congress leaders including Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi used the picture on their Twitter profile while many other leaders tweeted their photos holding the poster with the message.
Arrest me too.
मुझे भी गिरफ़्तार करो। pic.twitter.com/eZWp2NYysZ
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 16, 2021
Later, Aam Aadmi Party owned up to putting up the posters and claimed that its workers were arrested and hundreds were being harassed by the Delhi Police. AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said, “The Aam Aadmi Party has put up these posters, and now we will put it all over the country. If you have to arrest someone, then arrest us but don’t arrest those poor people who paste these posters. You will have to reply to why you sent our vaccines abroad? Why did you send it to Pakistan?”
यह Poster आम आदमी पार्टी ने लगाए हैं, और अब तो पूरे देश में लगाएंगे।अगर आपको गिरफ्तार करना है तो हमें करिए उन बेचारे गरीब पोस्टर लगाने वालों को नहीं।
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) May 16, 2021
Several AAP workers from Mongolpuri, Ghonda, Karawal Nagar, Rithala and other parts of Delhi have been arrested so far, he claimed.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been claiming a shortage of vaccines and even said that Bharat Biotech is refusing to supply additional vaccines on the Centre’s order. Delhi’s latest COVID vaccine bulletin shows that it has received 44,94,250 vaccines from the Centre till yesterday and has utilised 41,68,770. It is left with 3,25,480 vaccines in its stock. The data showed that it has just one days stock of COVAXIN while 5 days stock of Covishield.
Many other states including Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have claimed to have been facing a shortage of vaccines.