'Hate speech' Gandhi freed to join election campaign

Indian “hate speech” politician Varun Gandhi was released from jail on bail today.

Indian “hate speech” politician Varun Gandhi was released from jail on bail today.

Gandhi, the great grandson of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, had been held under the National Security Act for inciting violence by making inflammatory speeches during an election rally last month in the district of Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.

The country’s supreme court directed the Nehru family descendant to promise that he will not make any “inflammatory or provocative speech that causes communal disharmony” against community, religion, or race that could disturb public order.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agreed to pay a bond of 50,000 rupees (€764.78) and two sureties of the same amount for Gandhi’s release. He has also been instructed to inform the district magistrate of Pilibhit of his whereabouts in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi was held on March 28 after a controversy surrounding his speeches during rallies on March 7 and 8.

The BJP today said that he will campaign for the party during his two weeks on bail. He will also be able to file his nomination papers before the deadline of April 24.

A BJP spokesman said: “The party welcomes the supreme court decision. Varun Gandhi is an active party worker. He will campaign for the party.”

“Where he will go and whom he will campaign for will depend on Varun’s comfort and demand from candidates to campaign for them – there are a lot of people who want him to campaign for them,” he added.

In his speech last month, Mr Gandhi reportedly made connections between an opposition leader and Osama bin Laden.

“When my cousin, who is seven years old, saw the photo of Samajwadi Party’s candidate, she said: ’I did not know that Osama bin Laden is fighting from your constituency’.”

The powerful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has produced three prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru being the first, over six decades and has long promoted a secular government and tolerance for religious minorities.

The Nehru-Gandhi family has dominated the governing Congress Party that has ruled India for 47 out of the 61 years since it gained independence from Britain.

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