Addressing an election rally at Barsoi in Katihar Lok Sabha constituency in favour of Congress nominee Tariq Anwar, the former international cricketer said, “I have come here to warn you, Muslim brothers. You are 64% of the population … You all Muslim brothers are my ‘pagri’ (turban). All of you come to work in Punjab and get love and affection there. If you face any problem in Punjab, you’ll find Sidhu standing with you — ‘Mehaman jo hamara hota hai woh jaan se pyara hota hai’. Dear Muslim brothers, they are dividing you and your votes by bringing here people like Owaisi Saheb. They want to divide your votes and win the polls. You have a population of 64%. The minority community here is in majority. If you all come together and vote en bloc, then the matter will be settled and Modi will be taken care of. It’s time to hit a six and send Modi outside the boundary.”
He also said, “If you show solidarity, no one can defeat your candidate (Tariq Anwar).”
The FIR was lodged with the Barsoi police station in Katihar district. Barsoi SHO Chandra Prakash told TOI over phone that Sidhu has been booked under Section 188 of IPC and Sections 123(3) and 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The complaint was lodged on the statement of Katihar district administration’s flying squad magistrate Rajiv Kumar.
Section 123(3) is related to complete ban on any reference or appeal to religion, race, community, caste and language during election, while Section 125 is related to promoting enmity between classes in connection with election.
Sidhu’s appeal to Muslim brothers also invited an angry response from the state BJP, which condemned the “reprehensible act”. A BJP delegation led by its state vice-president Devesh Kumar and spokesperson Nikhil Anand called on state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) here and submitted a petition to register a criminal case against Sidhu and demanded ban on his electioneering.
The CEO told the BJP delegation that the commission had already taken cognizance of Sidhu’s speech and action was taken.