Monday, 30th October 2017

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BJP leader fires to ‘push away’ virus

The leader’s Facebook wall showed several critical posts from users on her friends list

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
  • Published 7.04.20, 4:33 AM
  • Updated 7.04.20, 4:33 AM
  • a min read
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Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath joins the nation in lighting lamps for nine minutes in Lucknow on Sunday. (PTI)

Manju Tiwari, Balrampur district president of the BJP women’s wing, allegedly fired several times in the air from a revolver around 9pm on Sunday, apparently as a symbolic attack on the novel coronavirus.

A video on Tiwari’s Facebook page showed the purported act, which came at a time people had lit candles and diyas as a gesture of solidarity against the virus, responding to an appeal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Pushing the coronavirus away after lighting diyas,” said a Hindi message accompanying the video, which appears to show a woman firing from a balcony or verandah.

Balrampur superintendent of police Dev Ranjan Verma said an FIR had been registered against Tiwari on the basis of the Facebook video and a probe ordered. He said celebratory firing was a crime.

“Further action will be taken after the probe report comes,” Verma said.

A police source in Lucknow said that preliminary investigation suggested the revolver was a licensed one and belonged to Tiwari’s husband Om Prakash Tiwari, who too is a local BJP politician.

“She removed the video after the police registered the FIR. By then it had gone viral and many local news channels had beamed it,” the Lucknow officer said.

Tiwari’s Facebook wall showed several critical posts from users on her friends list.

“Use your brain mam, say sorry for your mistake to the people,” a post said in English.

A Hindi post said: “Mrs Tiwari, you should have chanted a mantra. What’s with a gun? In any case, the country is in as much danger from illiterate functionaries like you as from the Tablighi Jamat.”

On Monday, Tiwari said in Balrampur, 160km east of Lucknow, that she had tendered an apology to her party leaders.

“I got excited seeing the people celebrating Diwali. I accept it was a mistake,” she told reporters.