Madras HC refuses to quash criminal proceedings against TN BJP chief Annamalai
Chennai, Feb 8 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Thursday refused to quash the criminal proceedings initiated against BJP's Tamil Nadu state President K. Annamalai.
Justice Anand Venkatesh dismissed the petition filed by the BJP leader seeking the case be quashed.
Social activist V. Piyush had filed a case before the Salem's magistrate court against Annamalai in 2022, alleging that Annamalai, in an interview given to a YouTube channel on October 22, 2022, just two days before Diwali that year, charged that it was a Christian NGO that had first filed a case to ban use of crackers during the festival.
Piyush, in his complaint, said that the BJP leader had deliberately fanned communal hatred by "lying" that it was a missionary NGO that filed a case against bursting crackers during Diwali celebrations.
The Salem magistrate court had taken cognisance of the petition and issued notice to BJP leader against which he approached the Madras High Court.
Justic Venkatesh, while dismissing the petition, said: "If religion becomes bellicose jingoism, it can prove fatal to the secular fabric of this country." He also observed that the interview of Annamalai disclose a divisive intent on the part of the petitioner to project that a Christian NGO was acting against Hindu culture.
"The intent behind the statement could be gathered from the fact that though the interview spanned for about 40 minutes, a shorter 6.5 minute footage, in which he claimed that it was a Christian NGO which filed the first case, had been edited out and tweeted through the official X handle of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Tamil Nadu unit."
The judge also recalled a recent Supreme Court in which the apex court has warned that hate speeches could act like a ticking bomb waiting to explode at an appropriate time, adding that the observations of the apex court were more relevant in the era of social media.
The court, after dismissing the petition, directed the Salem judicial magistrate's court to proceed with the case without being influenced by the High Court’s comments made on the matter.