BJP cadre forcibly hang PM’s photo in Coimbatore panchayat office, one arrested

BJP trade union district secretary M Bhaskaran has been arrested by the police, who had booked him and 11 others for trespassing and criminal intimidation.
Bhaskaran and other BJP members who hung the PM's photo in a Town Panchayat office in Coimbatore
Bhaskaran and other BJP members who hung the PM's photo in a Town Panchayat office in Coimbatore
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The Coimbatore police on Sunday, January 23, arrested BJP trade union district secretary M Bhaskaran and registered a case against 11 others from the BJP for entering the Town Panchayat Office in Pooluvapatti and forcibly hanging a portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on one of the walls of the office. The entire incident, which took place on Saturday, January 22, was recorded by Bhaskaran and multiple videos were posted on social media. After a complaint by the panchayat officials, a case was registered against Bhaskaran and 11 others under charges of trespassing and criminal intimidation.

In one of the videos, 39-year-old M Bhaskaran, who is the BJP’s trade union district secretary,  says that he has been asking the panchayat office many times to put up the portrait of the Prime Minister. However, since it was not done, the BJP members decided to install the photograph themselves, he says. The videos show Bhaskaran and a few other persons entering the Town Panchayat office, with a framed image of the Prime Minister and a hammer and nails.

According to the police, members of the BJP questioned why Prime Minister Modi's portrait cannot be hung inside the office, when former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and Chief Minister MK Stalin’s photographs are hung.

Pointing at Karunanidhi’s portrait hung inside the office, Bhaskaran is heard saying, “That sir’s (ayya’s) photo is hung, and we did not raise any objection. Why should we not hang the photo of our Prime Minister? Are you from Pakistan? Or from Afghanistan? What is the problem in hanging the Indian Prime Minister’s photo?”

When Executive Officer (EO) Rangasamy and others in the office questioned their actions and said they need permission to hang the portrait, Bhaskaran argues with the person over Karunanidhi’s portrait. The EO then goes on to say that he did not say that the picture should not be hung, but that it should be done with permission.

Bhaskaran then responds that despite multiple demands, they were not given permission, so as “an Indian citizen” and “ex-councilor of the area,” he and the other BJP members have decided to hang the portrait themselves.

“There is a photo of CM Stalin sir, former CM Karunanidhi, we did not say anything. What is the problem of hanging this one photo?” he asks in the video, adding, “If the photo is removed, Indian people will cause an uproar.”

Based on a complaint filed by the EO Rangasamy, an FIR has been registered by the Alandurai police under Sections 448 (Punishment for house-trespass), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 506(i) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of IPC, against Bhaskaran and 11 others. While Bhaskaran was arrested on Sunday, January 23 and sent to remand for 15 days, the others are yet to be arrested.

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