Religious leader who spoke ill of Gandhi and praised his murderer arrested in India

Mahatma Gandhi.

Photo: Central Press / Getty Images

Hindu religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj was arrested for supposedly having uttered a derogatory speech against the independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and praising the man who murdered him.

Maharaj was arrested in Madhya Pradesh, a central state, accused of allegedly promoting hatred between religious groups with the speech he would have made earlier in the week.

“Gandhi destroyed the country (…) greetings to Nathuram Godse, who killed him,” the man was quoted as saying by local media cited by The Associated Press.

In 1948, during a prayer meeting in the Indian capital, Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu extremist, as he was considered a Muslim sympathizer during the 1947 division of the Indian subcontinent by British colonialists, in secular India and Islamic Pakistan.

To Maharaj you will be formally charged after the police investigation, and if found guilty, could face a sentence of up to five years in jail.

Following the coming to power of Narendra Modi in 2014 and his re-election in 2019, attacks by radical Hindus against Muslims and some other minorities have seen their numbers rise. Muslims make up about 14% of the inhabitants of India, estimated at about 1.4 billion.

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