The statement by Haji Yakub Qureshi, former minister in Uttar Pradesh, announcing a reward of Rs 51 crore for the attackers of Charlie Hebdo is being viewed very seriously by New Delhi even as the police are looking into the statement.
An officer with the National Investigating Agency (NIA) informed Oneindia that these statements are irresponsible, especially in the wake of the agencies trying to put the breaks on Al-Qaeda and ISIS sympathizers in India.
After the attack on Charlie Hebdo, which claimed four of Frances' best known cartoonists and 8 others, Qureshi had told journalists that he would give a reward of Rs 51 crore to the attackers if they came forward and claimed it.
The Uttar Pradesh police, which failed to take any action when he had made a similar statement back in 2006, now say that they are examining the latest statement.
Additional Director General of Police Mukul Goel said that action could be initiated once the statements are examined.
The battle against the sympathizers of both the Al-Qaeda and the ISIS has not been an easy one for the agencies.
Although the approach towards the sympathizers has been more on reformative terms, the agencies claim that they have brought down the number of sympathizers by a great deal.
In such an event such statements add to the problem and when it comes from a political leader it can cause a lot of problems.
Had the police taken stringent action against him back in 2006 he may not have repeated it in 2015, an officer with the Intelligence Bureau informed.
No change in statement:
Several attempts to contact the former minister from the BSP yielded no results. His supporters informed that he was either busy or not available for comment.
However, none of them said that his statement had changed and neither did he have any plans as of now to retract.
Even when asked about the possible police action who are examining the statements, we were informed that they had no idea.
Repeatedly let off:
It is a known fact that Qureshi had made a similar statement back in 2006. He had announced a reward of Rs 51 crore for the person who beheads the Danish cartoonist who had drawn a caricature of Prophet Mohammad.
Even at that time the Uttar Pradesh police said that they were examining the statement but no action was taken.
In fact some leaders even came out in support of Qureshi and said that arrangements must be made to raise the Rs 51 crore.
Qureshi was once again in the eye of the storm when he slapped Chahan Singh Balyan a police constable and tore his uniform in 2012.
He reportedly slapped him as his cavalcade was stopped. The administration in Meerut had ordered an inquiry into the matter, but no action was taken.
In this case the police constable had even lodged a complaint, but Qureshi said that it was the constable who had misbehaved with him in a drunken state.
To book or not to book:
Such statements expressing solidatiry with terror attacks fall under the ambit of hate speeches and disturbing communal harmony. Officials say that terrorism charges cannot be booked in such cases, but strict action can be taken.
However, the police are in a dilemma not just because he is an influential person. The flip side of arresting him could well snow ball into a religious issue and he could gain undue sympathy.
At times it is better to ignore and not publicize such statements as they are meant at garnering electoral support, a senior official points out.