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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other leaders denounced the Centre over several arrests over the allegation of putting up posters in Delhi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Vaccine Maitri mission. The leaders condemned the Centre’s action for curtailing the freedom of speech.
Gandhi on Sunday tweeted “Arrest me too” with a picture of the poster that caused the arrest. The Congress leader tweeted the same in Hindi as well and also changed his Twitter profile picture to that of the poster questioning the Prime Minister’s policy decision on Covid-19 vaccine distribution.
The Delhi Police on Saturday registered 25 First Investigation Reports (FIR) and arrested many for allegedly putting up those posters.
“Modiji humare bachon ki vaccine videsh kyu bhej diya (Modiji why did you send vaccines of our children to foreign countries?)” the posters read that were plastered in several parts of the city read.
The police received information about the posters on Thursday and based on additional complaints, they registered 25 FIRs 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, PTI quoted an official as saying.
The Congress retweeted Gandhi’s attack on the Centre with a quote asking the Prime Minister why he had not thought of the Indian citizens before sending the vaccines abroad.
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Congress MP P Chidambaram has also questioned India’s freedom and its right to free speech after the arrests. “The poster asked a simple question of the PM: why did you export the vaccines meant for our children? Even before the PM could answer, the loyal Delhi Police answered with ARREST Celebrate, India is a free country,” Chidambaram tweeted.
“Celebrate, India is a free country. There is freedom of speech. Except, when you ask a question of the Honourable Prime Minister. That is why the Delhi Police arrested 24 persons for allegedly pasting a poster in Delhi,” he added.
The backlash against the BJP-led central government comes as India struggles against a devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that has overwhelmed the healthcare infrastructure of the country.
Many states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, are facing a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines. Centres administering Covaxin in Delhi were shut on Thursday due to the shortage. Many other states have complained about the same and some of them have also issued global tenders in the market to get the essential shots.