Following allegations of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans raised during protests held by activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Friday against the NIA-ED raids in Pune, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said that the government must take strict against those who indulged in the sloganeering, and that the incident showed “major law and order failure” in the state.
“The government must come down swiftly and hard on those who indulged in pro-Pak slogans. The fact that someone dared to do so, and is yet roaming free, means this is a major law and order failure in Maharashtra,” Thackeray said on Saturday, ANI reported.
On Saturday morning, several videos were circulated on social media claiming that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans were raised during the PFI protest in Pune. Some videos were also circulated by a section of media, however, it was not clear in the video, whether the pro-Pakistan slogans were raised or not.
Pune police on Friday had detained 42 people including leaders, members and supporters of PFI. They were released at night after being issued warning notices. They were agitating in front of the district collector’s office.
On Saturday, over 60 people were booked at Bundgarden police station under several sections of the Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint for blocking the road and on charges of disobeying orders, as PFI members protested against the orders.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said that the police are looking into the pro-Pak sloganeering case.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in a tweet in Marathi said, “The sloganeering of Pakistan Zindabad by some anti-social elements in Pune is highly condemnable. While police will take appropriate action against those involved, we want to make it clear that such slogans will not be tolerated in the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.”
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the charge of state home ministry, told reporters, “We will not spare anyone who gives the slogan of Pakistan Zindabad in Maharashtra or anywhere in India. We will find those people out and take action against them.”
Meanwhile, PFI’s Pune Unit President Mohammed Qais Anwar Shaikh said in a video message that protestors raised “Popular Front of India Zindabad”, and alleged that a section of media had “manipulated” it, and presented it as “Pakistan Zindabad”.
He said that legal action will be taken against those defaming or spreading rumours about PFI.
“During the protest condemning raids against PFI leaders, our members and supporters chanted slogans of the Popular Front of India Zindabad. A section of the media manipulated this and tried to present it as slogans of Pakistan Zindabad. We will initiate appropriate legal action against those who are defaming us or spreading rumours about us,” Shaikh said.
A multi-agency joint operation spearheaded by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday raided 93 locations across India in 15 states. Over 100 PFI cadres, including leaders and office bearers, were arrested over allegations of “terror funding” and radicalisation. A total of 20 arrests were made from Maharashtra.