BJP's Madhavi Latha makes Muslim women remove veils to check voter IDs, case filed

Madhavi Latha has been booked under sections 171 c, 186, 505 (1) (c) of the Indian penal code and under section 132 Representation of People Act.
BJP's Hyderabad MP candidate, Madhavi intimidates Muslim women voters  to remove veil at polling booth
BJP's Hyderabad MP candidate, Madhavi intimidates Muslim women voters to remove veil at polling booth
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BJP's Hyderabad MP candidate, Madhavi Latha on Monday, May 13, intimidatingly resorted to personally ‘verifying’ Muslim women voters by asking them to remove their veils. The BJP leader’s prejudice was caught on camera. In the video, Madhavi was seen harassing the Muslim women at the Azampura polling station threatening them to show their identity cards and reveal their faces.

Madhavi Latha, who is contesting against Asaduddin Owasi, visited polling booth number 122 at Azampur and alleged inconsistencies in the voter list. She approached three Muslim women who were waiting to cast their votes to reveal their faces and tried cross-checking with their identity cards. 

In the video that has emerged, Madhavi Latha was seen speaking to women sitting on a bench and demanding them to show their ID cards. When one of them gave her ID, Madhavi examined the details and asked. “Who is this and who is it on the card? It is written 44 years-old here.” She further asked the woman to provide another ID to verify her identity to which the woman replied that she only got one ID. Not convinced by her identity, Madhavi posed more questions and asked the woman when the picture was taken.

Crying foul over the identity of one of the Muslim women, she asked the poll agents to take a picture of her and her identity card. Further, she approached an officer overseeing the polling claiming that the woman’s identity did not match. When the official assured her that she would look into it. Madhavi replied, “You are from the government. You cannot be trusted.”

After the videos of the incident were viral with many condemning Madhavi’s actions, the District Election Officer Ronald Ross initiated action against her. Subsequently, an FIR was filed against her at the Malakpet police station. 

According to Section 49J in Conduct of Elections Rules, only polling agents can challenge the identity of a voter by first depositing a sum of two rupees in cash with the presiding officer. The BJP leader, known for making anti-Muslim remarks, had earlier claimed in her campaign speeches that bogus votes were influencing election results. 

Meanwhile, the Malakpet police booked Madhavi Latha under sections 171 c (undue influence at elections), 186 ( Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 505 (1) (c) (intent to incite any class or community to commit crime against any other class or community) of the Indian penal code and under section 132 Representation of People Act. 

Read: Communal, misogynistic, patriarchal: The triple problematic politics of Madhavi Latha

n a similar incident, BJP’s candidate for Nizamabad, Arvind Dharmapuri, got into a heated argument with the presiding officer inside a polling booth when a few Muslim women in burqas were lining up to cast their votes. 

He questioned the polling officials about their alleged lapse in verifying burqa-wearing women voters.  “How will you check who came in to vote? How will you know? Are you doing your duty or passing time here?” 

The BJP leader kept arguing with the officials though they clarified that they have carried out the process of verification as per the norms.

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