Varun Gandhi jailed over hate speeches (Second Lead)

March 28th, 2009 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), March 28 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Varun Gandhi was Saturday sent to jail here until Monday after he surrendered in a court over his reported hate speeches.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate sent Gandhi to judicial custody until the next hearing Monday, BJP leader Kalraj Misra told IANS.

The court sentence came shortly after Gandhi said that he was “ready to go to jail” over the anti-Muslim speeches he denies making but which have ignited a huge controversy.

Earlier, Gandhi reached the court complex with a large number of supporters shouting slogans hailing him and waving BJP flags.

Initially, the judge told his lawyers that there was no warrant against Gandhi and if he wanted to surrender he must file an affidavit mentioning the sections under which cases have been registered against him.

Clad in a maroon-coloured kurta, Gandhi told reporters here in Pilibhit, around 350 km from Lucknow: “I will do whatever possible to instil confidence in my people, my community and my country. I will not step back. I am prepared to go to jail to stand by my principles.”

Around 50 BJP workers were arrested here Saturday after they blocked roads and clashed with the police while waiting for Gandhi. They were charged with unlawful assembly.

Security forces were deployed at the Pilibhit border, officials said.

Gandhi courted controversy after he allegedly made communally venomous speeches while seeking votes. Once the speeches surfaced in CD, he alleged the CDs were doctored.

The Election Commission came down heavily on him and suggested that he should not be fielded as a candidate in the Lok Sabha election. The BJP refused to do that.

On Friday, Gandhi withdrew his bail application from the Delhi High Court and decided to court arrest.

The Election Commission wants criminal charges to be filed against him for his speeches.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal described Gandhi’s surrender and arrest as a “drama”.

“A drama is being enacted by Varun Gandhi. I am sure that (BJP leader L.K.) Advaniji is in tune with it. Without his consent, it would not have happened,” Sibal said.

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