Arrests made after thousands of anti-Modi posters appear across Delhi

A supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds a picture of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi (AFP via Getty Images)
A supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds a picture of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi (AFP via Getty Images)

Posters that have called for the removal of India’s prime minister Narendra Modi from power in capital Delhi have led its police to make six arrests and file three dozen complaints.

At least 2,000 posters that read “Modi hatao, desh bachao” (remove Modi from office, save the country) in the Hindi language were confiscated in central Delhi from a van coming out of the office of Mr Modi’s main opposition in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday.

Another 2,000 posters were removed, reported Indian news daily Indian Express.

“Delhi Police has registered 100 First Information Reports (FIRs) while six people were arrested for objectionable posters including those against prime minister Narendra Modi across the city,” the city’s special commissioner of police, law and order Deependra Pathak said.

A complaint or FIR is the first process in any police investigation in India and is typically followed by questioning of the accused.

AAP is the ruling party in Delhi and has kept Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in opposition since 2015. The party has national ambitions and continues to fiercely contest elections in other states against the BJP.

Both the parties have been at loggerheads in the past and tensions have risen between them in recent months after the arrest of prominent Delhi’s deputy chief minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia over alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped liquor excise policy for the national capital.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked why the Indian prime minister was “insecure” over the posters.

“Why is Modi ji so insecure and scared? It seems like a very normal poster. Anyone can put it up. This is a democracy. I feel he wakes up every morning and wonders who he can send to jail,” the chief minister said in Hindi.

On Wednesday, AAP shared on social media videos and photos of the posters calling for Mr Modi’s removal.

One of the videos shared by AAP showed the slogan printed on a giant red poster with the slogan hanging down an overhead bridge in Delhi.

“The one to self-proclaim himself as having ‘56 inch’ got scared of a 56 inch ‘poster’,” said the AAP, using an indirect reference to Mr Modi’s popular 2014 election slogan of having a 56-inch chest to brave adversities.

“PM Modi, how many FIRs will you get done on this? Now sounds echoing this sentiment [Remove Modi from office, save the country] are coming from every corner,” the AAP said in another tweet.

In an official response, the state-city’s ruling party announced protests from the heart of Delhi at Jantar Mantar to “echo” this slogan.

“PM Modi, you can file not just a hundred but a thousand FIRs. Get it done but from tomorrow, the slogan of [Remove Modi from office, save the country] will echo... across the country. Now all limits have been crossed,” AAP minister Gopal Rai said at a news conference.

Police said separate orders for a total of 100,000 posters were placed with two printing press firms and the staff linked to the companies had plastered several of these posters across Delhi from late Sunday night to Monday morning.

Police have arrested the owners of the printing press firms for not adding their names on the poster, according to the Indian Express report.