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FIRs spur surrender call

Bokaro/Patna, April 23: BJP MP nominee for Bihar’s Nawada Giriraj Singh, facing a non-bailable arrest warrant for his April 18 inflammatory speech where he said Narendra Modi’s critics should “go to Pakistan” today claimed he “might surrender tomorrow” but did not specify the time or place.

Giriraj today said from the neighbouring state: “I have a high regard for the judiciary and I shall abide by its order.” Despite widespread buzz of his surrender in Patna, he refused to confirm it.

Giriraj’s provocative remarks on “those opposing Modi should go to Pakistan” and “the Centre was giving subsidy for beef export and taxing those who reared cows” at Jharkhand and Bihar rallies sparked a nationwide furore.

The Election Commission (EC), Modi, politicians cutting across party lines and Netizens alike have slammed the remarks. While the EC barred Giriraj from campaigning, Modi tweeted: “Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP’s well-wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development and good governance.”

Giriraj jokes are flooding Facebook and the #ModiSendMeToPak hashtag is trending on Twitter.

Bokaro subdivisional judicial magistrate Amit Shekhar today issued an arrest warrant against Giriraj, two days after Chas BDO-cum deputy poll officer Ram Naresh Soni filed an FIR at Sector IX thana on orders of Bokaro DC-cum-district election officer Uma Shankar Singh. The DC had passed the order after examining the video footage of Giriraj’s speech.

Bokaro SP Jitendra Singh has deputed an inspector execute the warrant. Patna city SP Jayant Kant said they would extend all possible help to Jharkhand police.

Three FIRs — two in Deogarh and Bokaro (Jharkhand) and one in Patna (Bihar) — have been lodged against Giriraj at the EC’s behest. IPC sections include 153 A (promoting enmity between classes), 295 A (maliciously insulting religion or religious beliefs) and 298 (uttering any word or making any sound in the hearing or making any gesture, or placing any object in the sight of any person, with intention to wound his religious feelings). He is also facing charges under People’s Representation Act.

Trashing reports that he went into hiding after April 18, Giriraj told The Telegraph: “Mein pith dikhane wala aadmi nahin hoon (I am not a man to turn my back).”

Calling the incident a conspiracy, he added: “I clarified my position to the district officials at Bokaro and Deoghar through fax and emails and sent my pleas to the EC clarifying my stand on this issue.”