Aam Aadmi party leader Gopal Italia was arrested by Delhi police on Thursday after sparking an uproar over alleged “derogatory” remarks he made about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The National Women’s Commission (NCW) previously issued a notice asking the President of the AAP from Gujarat to appear before the commission for an in-person hearing on October 13.
Two old videos from Italy have recently surfaced, one in which he criticizes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies and uses a swear word for his government, and another in which he tells women that “temple and katha (religious discourse) are breeding grounds of the are exploitation”. where they gain nothing, and advises mothers and daughters to avoid temple attendance if they desire development and respect.
The commission took note of the video on PM Modi on Sunday after the clip was shared on Twitter by BJP leader Tajinder Bagga. The Commission said in the statement: “The language used by Italy is linguistically biased, misogynistic and extremely shameful, condemnable and inappropriate of you.”
AAP Gujarat Vice-Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chaddha had said on Monday: “If Italy has made a mistake, act according to the law, but the fact is that the BJP is beginning to feel that they are in Gujarat losing ground. Because Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s popularity is increasing every day, and the ruling party is unable to provide satisfactory answers to key questions, and in order to divert people’s attention, it pulls out an old video clip showing the AAP leader in a fake case to fix. ”
BJP media coordinator Yagnesh Dave lashed out at Italia, claiming it shows the culture of AAP and Italia, “such a person has no right to live in India who insults the Prime Minister of India,” Dave had said.
AAP employees gather in front of the NCW office
On Thursday, Italia said the videos he was involved in were not his and had been tampered with. He also accused the BJP of “hating” Patidar society. “The boss of @NCWIndia is threatening to put me in jail. What can the Modi government give the Patel community besides jail? BJP hates Patidar society. I am a descendant of Sardar Patel. Don’t be afraid of your prisons. Put me in jail,” the AAP leader said in a post on Twitter.
. @NCWIndia चीफ़ मुझे जेल में डालने की धमकी दे रही है। मोदी सरकार पटेल जेल सिवा सिवा दे ही क्या बीजेपी पाटीदार से नफ़रत नफ़रत। है मैं सरदार पटेल का वंशज हूँ। तुम्हारी जेलों से नहीं डरता। डाल दो मुझे जेल में। इन्होंने पुलिस को भी बुला लिया है। मुजे धमका रहे है।
— Gopal Italia (@Gopal_Italia) October 13, 2022
Meanwhile, NCW boss Rekha Sharma claimed that AAP employees rioted outside her office after her action. The head of the commission later left the premises. Delhi Police sources confirmed the incident and said a large number of Aam Aadmi Party workers had gathered in front of the NCW headquarters in Jasola.
— Rekha Sharma (@shamarekha) October 13, 2022
The NCW later stated that the way the office was “gheraoed” was wrong and that a complaint had been filed on the matter.
The ‘patidar’ defense
The AAP has just been dealing with a controversy over Hindu gods and goddesses that prompted the party to recently oust a minister in Delhi to quell the BJP’s anger at Rajendra Pal Gautam’s comments and actions. After the incident, AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal compared his fight to Lord Krishna’s against Kansa.
But this time, the AAP appears to be standing alongside Italia, a young 33-year-old leader from the politically important Patidar community, which is a crucial ballot box in Gujarat’s upcoming elections.
However, this is not the first time Italia has faced controversy, according to a report by Indian Express. In January 2017, as the newly elected BJP government settled down after a tough election campaign against Patidar anger, an audio clip was posted by Italia, then a contract financial officer, stationed in Dhandhuka in Ahmedabad district posing as a police officer and the then deputy Prime Minister called Nitin Patel, who complained that the ban policy changes were going viral. Italia was sacked after being accused of identity theft. He told The Indian Express at the time that he was pretending to be a police officer out of “nervousness”.
Italia had previously worked for the Gujarat Police Force but as Lok Rakshak Dal Jawan on contract in Ahmedabad. He had lost his job after slamming a shoe on serving MoS (Home) Pradeepsinh Jadeja.
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