6 held by Delhi police over anti-Muslim slogans at rally

Indian police officers

Six men were detained by police in the Indian capital, New Delhi on Tuesday after they were filmed chanting anti-Muslim slogans at a protest rally held in the city on Sunday, officials and reports said.

Footage from the demonstration, which was held on a number of issues associated with anti-Muslim feeling among the Hindu majority in India, showed a group of men shouting incendiary slogans.

The rally threatened to attack people from India’s Muslim minority.

Videos of the protest had gone viral, triggering outrage on social media, with many demanding to know why the men had not been arrested at the demonstration.

The public outcry led the police to detain the men in the early hours of Tuesday.

The six detainees were being questioned, police spokesman Chinmoy Biswal said.

Among the six was reportedly Ashwini Upadhyay, a lawyer and one-time spokesperson for the Delhi chapter of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Upadhyay denied the allegations, claiming he was not one of the rally’s organisers as widely claimed, and that he left the demonstration before the slogans were chanted.

Rights groups say discrimination against Muslims has increased since the BJP came to power in 2014, a charge the party denies.

In February 2020, religious riots in Delhi led to the deaths of 53 people, 36 of them Muslims. (dpa/NAN)